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I’m a Happy Inker Again



Picture 5 I’ve been without a Tablet PC for the past several weeks as they have either been out on loan to friends or getting upgraded. So, I’ve been using my MacBook instead.

I’ve gotten along swimmingly, except for the nagging need to want to take notes, sign PDF’s, etc. Since Vista supports tablet features natively, and I can run Vista either in boot camp mode or in Parallels on the MacBook, I came pretty close to picking up a cheap Wacom tablet to get me by until I had a Tablet PC again. However, that would mean having to lug around an accessory and that would get kind of cumbersome, too. So, I was pretty excited when my friend called me yesterday to tell me that his new X61 Tablet PC had arrived and that I could come by and pick up the evaluation unit. It felt so good to hold a tablet again. Taking the pen to screen felt like coming home.

I was reminded again how great it is to have an integrated notetaking solution built right in to the computer. Too often, I think, we forget how far tablet technology has come in five years, and what a great thing Microsoft, the ISV community, and the OEMs have done.

If Apple ever comes out with a tablet, I believe it will be an affirmation of what began five years ago. The effects of the technology we enjoy today can be seen in many follow-on products: Surface, MIDs, UMPCs, internet tablets, and touch / multi-touch, just to name a few. Kudos to Bill Gates, the former Tablet PC team at Microsoft, and the ISV / OEM community to holding firm with a technology that we all believed in and knew would succeed. The challenge ahead is in telling the great story, getting Tablet PCs  / UMPCs into the hands of regular folks, building great software solutions, and breaking the mold in the design area. If those things are done, Microsoft and their partner community will continue to own and define the space. If not, well, let’s not go there….

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