I have to sympathize with Matt Hamblen and the good folks at ComputerWorld. Unlike, GottaBeMobile.com where we only cover Tablet PCs, Ultra-Mobile PCs, and mobile technology, they cover the full gamut of the computing world. I know it is tough to find news in our small segment of the industry (they call it a niche), as is evidenced by the sparse amount of content we scrimp and scrape to come up with here in these pages. But at least we don’t resort to recycling the same old weary stories the way ComputerWorld does in their recent article, Eight reasons Tablet PCs have missed the mainstream.
I can so envision the editorial assignment meeting now.
- Editor: Matt, we haven’t covered the Tablet PC scene in a while. Write an article.
- Matt H: But…
- Editor: No buts, Matt. We need to get a story out on Tablet PCs.
- Matt H: Sir, we haven’t really seen anything new there in awhile.
- Editor: What are you talking about kid? Vista has all of the Tablet PC bits included in it. Everyone is talking about touch with those new Origami things that they hyped to death last year, and at CES we saw a few new Tablet PCs announced didn’t we?
- Matt H: Well, yes, sir, but we still haven’t gotten a chance to try them out.
- Editor: Try them out? We don’t need to try them out, just read the press releases and give me some statistics and get some folks to make some quotes about what’s going on.
- Matt H: But…
- Editor: How are they selling?
- Matt H: Well, I read that in 2006 convertible Tablet PC sales surpassed over 1,000,000 this year.
- Editor: Really? What’s that as a percentage of portable computer sales, like 2%?
- Matt H: Yes, I think so.
- Editor: Well, say that then.
- Matt: But I think that’s old news.
- Editor: And your point?
And on it goes. I’m poking fun here, but it doesn’t come without some measure of frustration on my part. ComputerWorld’s 8 reasons Tablet PCs haven’t hit the mainstream are the same recycled points that have been chronicled over at over. Premium price points, lack of ink enabled applications, poor marketing, etc… etc… No new news.
My frustration also centers on some of the quotes form the analysts in the article. I’m not sure what they are analysing but some of these quotes leave me quite puzzled:
Until Vista, users needed Windows XP Tablet PC Edition to use such functions as handwriting recognition and touch screen. This has meant that a user would face the annoyance of not being able to write in a password to start working, Fiering said. The user would have to type or tap in letters and symbols of the password first before getting to the handwriting capabilities. With the new Vista Business Edition, the tablet capability is integrated, and if the PC is enabled to take touch or pen input, the OS will recognize it, she said.
Now I certainly don’t think I was hallucinating when I used a utility from Toshiba to enter my password on the M200 with a stylus. But then maybe I was.
And then there’s the entire section on handwriting recognition that basically ignores the training (personalization) that Vista offers and states that “if the handwriting is sloppy, the text recognition will be poor.” Any search on Tablet PC handwriting recognition would quickly yield a series of articles that first agrees (old news) that handwriting recognition is not 100% but also just as many testaments of amazement at how well text is recognized with even the sloppiest handwriting.
In other recycled news in the article, one of the analysts stated that Dell will be entering the Tablet PC market mid-year and that this should change things.