Will Tablet PCs revolutionize our digital age?

Anthony J. Tommasino

The Tablet PC is a new innovation of technology and portability that comes to consumers as an option for mobile computing.

First we had the notebook computers, which were convenient to have as a portable computer, but many laptops are still heavy, weighing over five pounds. Next were the lightweight portable computers that revolutionized the true portability of laptops weighing from one to three pounds, while still matching many of the components of a desktop computer; though this came at an expensive price. Then the next craze was introduced, the Palm and PocketPC palmtop computers that mixed very lightweight portable computers with handwritten input. These devices are very small but are easily broken. In the introductory phase, palmtop computers were very popular due to the ability to hand write notes, but sales have slowly declined because hand written input is tough and cumbersome to use on these very small, six by four inch devices. Finally, we have the new Tablet PC which combines the lightweight laptop with the writing capability of the palmtop computers.

The Tablet PC, coincidently powered by an Intel Pentium III-M (mobile) processor and Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC edition, is about one-third as powerful as current desktop and laptop computers. This is excellent for Microsoft Office and other business-related computing applications, but do not expect to be playing video games or using other intensive applications on the Tablet PC. The Tablet PC was designed for input with the business person’s mindset in view. Its key features are the lightweight portability, coupled with a large screen, averaging 11 inches, and the ability to hand write messages and take notes as if the Tablet PC was a legal pad.

Imagine going to class, carrying only your Tablet PC, taking class notes onto the “digital paper,” turning the digital pages, and saving it all at the end of class. Imagine all the notes that you take during the semester and how easy it is to lose a crucial page that you need for studying.

That is not the case anymore with the Tablet PC. You can even print the pages out when you get back to your room to have a hard copy. Everything is done digitally through the Tablet PC. You can have your textbook loaded up via CD and all your previous notes, all digital files, are retreivable with a tap of the pen. This would save a lot of headaches to students when it comes time to review and study. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is projecting that the Tablet PC will triumph over the laptop in the classroom as the dominate form for work and computing.

Even in the business world, many companies and corporations are moving towards the Tablet PC for those employees who are always traveling or spending time outside of the office. Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Merck & Co. and even 7-11 have all instituted use of the Tablet PC to improve productivity and service to their consumers. The Tablet PC allows employees to work as they wish, giving employees more freedom and thus improving their morale and work quality.

The Tablet PC can integrate many lives, increasing productivity and quality of work by those who use it. The only question that remains is if the Tablet PC will be another fad like the palmtop computers, or if it is really worth the money as a suitable replacement for current laptop.

I believe that the Tablet PC is an ingenious product that has great potential and is much better than the palmtop computers. It is supported well by manufacturers, and has the most stable Windows operating system Windows XP. This existing operating system, unlike the Windows CE of palmtop computers will integrate well into the current activities of businesses without any need for new programs to be developed.

The Tablet PC is the way to go for portability and productivity that all students and business professionals need, while having the power to do and display everything that they really need.

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