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Microsoft Hopes Time is Right For Tablet

Techstination feature for Thursday, November 7, 2002

Microsoft hopes the time is right... .for the Tablet. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The new Tablet Edition of Windows XP arrives... .and Microsoft hopes it will revolutionize the world of notebook computers. A variety of manufacturers are introducing tablet PCs... including Hewlett Packard, Acer, Viewsonic and Toshiba... where senior product brand manager Craig Marking says buyers of the Portege 3500 will get standard notebook functionality... .

"We build upon this by adding the tablet enhancements so that now you have the ability to use this as either a standard notebook or in a pure tablet mode with true pen input using a digitizer stylus, etcetera."

You can save what you write as digital ink... .or translate your handwriting to text that can be edited in applications like Word. The handwriting recognition is good... .but far from perfect. Still Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer thinks buyers will be impressed...

"I think anybody who has a notebook computer today and even some people who have a desktop computer are going to say Wow! If I have a notebook this is just so much better a notebook than any notebook I've ever had before. I think it'll be a bit of a sleeper. We may be overhyped but I think the market's being more skeptical about it than the users will be when they actually get there hands on it. It may take six months, nine months... a year... but I actually think within a fairly short order, we'll see most notebook sales convert over to tablet sales."

Time will tell. For now, one of the drawbacks is price. Most tablets will be selling for two thousand dollars and up... .hundreds more than what most consumers are paying for standard notebook computers. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.