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This Kind of Tablet, I Like

As I’ve alluded to a few times before, I don’t really get the whole tablet PC notion that folks like Gillmor and Scoble have been evangelizing. While at Microsoft last week, I found it fascinating that an overwhelming majority of the ‘Softies we met with utilized Toshiba tablets. My basic problem with them is simple: I don’t like to write by hand. Hate it, in fact. My handwriting’s terrible but slow. I’ll choose typing over longhand every day of the week and twice on Sunday, regardless of how accurate the handwriting recognition software is. How about the ability to draw diagrams, you ask? Well, I can’t draw any better than I write, and further the diagrams I’ve done with styluses before came out jagged and weird looking.

So while I’ll freely admit that this may just be a case of me not groking the use case as I’ve never used one (some readers, Danno for one, are fond of them) I didn’t even consider a tablet while I was going through the selection process for a new laptop. Just didn’t have any interest. When I’m considering a laptop platform, I just can’t see that a tablet had anything I wanted or needed.

But what about a different, non-PC oriented form factor? One that doesn’t attempt to compete with laptops, but offers a far larger and more readable screen than a mobile phone? Weighing under a pound with a standby battery life of 7 days? Let’s go further, and say that it was Linux based (Debian, surprisingly, rather than the more usual MontaVista), and that much of the OS work had been contributed back to the community in the form of the maemo project. Might that be of interest? Perhaps. Depends, as always, on the pricing. I suspect the Nokia 770 will run for a grand or more which would be hard to justify, but if it’s less I’ll certainly take a look.

The GNOME crowd, as you might expect given that many of them have been working on the project for two years, is pretty charged up about the announcement. See Havoc, Mikael, Ross, and Uraeus.

Update: More from Miguel here and Jeff Waugh here.

Categories: Product Announcements.

  • pops

    We just started using tablet applications on the Amex-hate it already-I also hate to write(must be genetic) and it is infinitely slower>

  • http://www.redmonk.com/sogrady sogrady

    interesting. so do they do handwriting recognition, Dad, or are these the point and click types you've have before?

  • pops

    On the handhelds that the brokers use it is a way for sending market looks to the booth. Basically bid/ask with amount bid for and offered. We also have a new machine(NYFIX) which has the same function but goes from the booth to remote customers-transmits handwritten-there was an effort to use handwritten recognition but proved too expensive. We find that IM with the same info is faster and eliminates the problem of poor penmanship which both Teddy and Jackie suffer from. Also, problems with the touch screens as styluses aren't great and there seem to be frequent calibration problems. Might not be the same problem if there were only one user per screen but we have several users per screen.

  • http://www.redmonk.com/sogrady sogrady

    interesting, pop. i'll be using this for an entry later this week, as it needs to be surfaced on the front page.