Tablet PC

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HP Compaq tablet PC with rotating/removable keyboard

A Tablet PC is a laptop or slate-shaped mobile computer, equipped with a touchscreen or graphics tablet/screen hybrid to operate the computer with a stylus or digital pen, or a fingertip, instead of a keyboard or mouse.

This form factor offers a more mobile way to interact with a computer. Tablet PCs are often used where normal notebooks are impractical or unwieldy, or do not provide the needed functionality.


[edit] Forms

[edit] Slates

Slate computers, which resemble writing slates, are tablet PCs without a dedicated keyboard. Keyboards can usually be attached via a wireless or USB connection.

These tablet PCs typically incorporate small (8.4-14.1 inches/21–36 cm) LCD screens and have been popular for quite some time in vertical markets such as health care, education, and field work.

Slate models are often designed with a focus on mobility and/or ruggedness, eliminating moving parts that could hinder these qualities.

[edit] Convertibles

Convertible notebooks have a base body with an attached keyboard. They more closely resemble modern laptops, and are usually heavier and larger than slates.

Typically, the base of a convertible attaches to the display at a single joint called a swivel hinge or rotating hinge. The joint allows the screen to rotate around 180° and fold down on top of the keyboard to provide a flat writing surface. This design, although the most common, creates a physical point of weakness on the notebook.

Some manufacturers, however, have attempted to overcome these weak points. The Panasonic Toughbook 19, for example, is advertised as a more durable convertible notebook. One model by Acer has a sliding design in which the screen slides up from the slate-like position and locks into place to provide the laptop mode.

Convertibles are by far the most popular form factor of tablet PCs, because for people who are unsure about the practicality of using the pen as the primary method of input, the convertibles still offer the keyboard and pointing device of older notebooks.

[edit] Hybrids

Hybrids, coined by users of the HP/Compaq TC1000 and TC1100 series, share the features of the slate and convertible by using a detachable keyboard which operates in a similar fashion to a convertible when attached.

This is not to be confused with slate models that have a detachable keyboard—detachable keyboards for pure slate models do not rotate around to allow the tablet to rest on it like a convertible.

Despite a loyal following of users, the hybrid form factor has not received any recent updates after the TC1100 was discontinued.

[edit] History

  • Before 1950
    • 1888: U.S. Patent granted to Elisha Gray on electrical stylus device for capturing handwriting.[1][2]
    • 1915: U.S. Patent on handwriting recognition user interface with a stylus.[3][4]
    • 1942: U.S. Patent on touchscreen for handwriting input.[5][6]
    • 1945: Vannevar Bush proposes the Memex, a data archiving device including handwriting input, in an essay As We May Think.[7]
  • 1950s
    • Tom Dimond demonstrates the Styalator electronic tablet with pen for computer input and handwriting recognition.[8]
  • Early 1960s
  • Late 1960s
    • Alan Kay of Xerox PARC proposed a notebook using pen input called Dynabook: however device is never constructed.
  • 1982
    • Pencept of Waltham, Massachusetts markets a general-purpose computer terminal using a tablet and handwriting recognition instead of a keyboard and mouse.[11]
    • Cadre System markets the Inforite point-of-sale terminal using handwriting recognition and a small electronic tablet and pen.[12]
  • 1985:
    • Pencept[13] and CIC[14] both offer PC computers for the consumer market using a tablet and handwriting recognition instead of a keyboard and mouse. Operating system is MS-DOS.
  • 1989
    • The first commercially available tablet-type portable computer was the GRiDPad[15] from GRiD Systems, released in September. Its operating system was based on MS-DOS.
    • Wang Laboratories introduces Freestyle. Freestyle was an application that would do a screen capture from an MS-DOS application, and let the user add voice and handwriting annotations. It was a sophisticated predecessor to later note-taking applications for systems like the Tablet PC.[16] The operating system was MS-DOS
  • 1991
    • The Momenta Pentop was released.[17]
    • GO Corp announced a dedicated operating system, called PenPoint OS, featuring control of the operating system desktop via handwritten gesture shapes.[18][19]
    • NCR released model 3125 pen computer running MS-DOS, Penpoint or Pen Windows.[20]
    • The Apple Newton entered development; although it ultimately became a PDA, its original concept (which called for a larger screen and greater sketching capabilities) resembled that of a tablet PC.
  • 1992
    • GO Corp shipped PenPoint and IBM announced IBM 2125 pen computer (the first IBM model named "ThinkPad") in April.[21]
    • Microsoft releases Windows for Pen Computing as a response to the PenPoint OS.
  • 1993
    • The IBM releases the ThinkPad, IBM's first commercialized portable tablet computer product available to the consumer market, as the IBM ThinkPad 750P and 360P[22]
    • AT&T introduced the EO Personal Communicator combining PenPoint with wireless communications.
  • 1999
  • 2000
  • 2001
    • Bill Gates of Microsoft demonstrates first public prototype of a Tablet PC (defined by Microsoft as a pen-enabled computer conforming to hardware specifications devised by Microsoft and running a licensed copy of the "Windows XP Tablet PC Edition" operating system)[24] at Comdex.
  • 2006
    • Windows Vista released for general availability. Vista included the functionality of the special Tablet PC edition of Windows XP.
  • 2008
    • In April 2008, as part of a larger federal court case, the gesture features of the Windows/Tablet PC operating system and hardware were found to infringe on a patent by GO Corp. concerning user interfaces for pen computer operating systems.[25]
    • HP releases the second MultiTouch capable tablet: the HP TouchSmart tx2z.[26]
  • 2009
    • Asus announced a tablet netbook.
    • Always Innovating announced a new tablet netbook with an ARM CPU.

[edit] System software

[edit] Microsoft

The operating system on which most tablet PCs used to run was Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.[27][28] Tablet PC Edition is a superset of Windows XP Professional, the difference being tablet functionality, including alternate text input (Tablet PC Input Panel) and basic drivers for support of tablet PC specific hardware. Requirements to install Tablet PC Edition include a tablet digitizer or touchscreen device, and hardware control buttons including a Ctrl-Alt-Delete shortcut button, scrolling buttons, and at least one user-configurable application button.

Service Pack 2 for Windows XP includes Tablet PC Edition 2005 and is a free upgrade. This version brought improved handwriting recognition and improved the Input Panel, allowing it to be used in almost every application. The Input Panel was also revised to extend speech recognition services (input and correction) to other applications.

With the sucession of Windows Vista, the Tablet PC functionality no longer required a separate edition. Tablet PC support is built into all editions of Windows Vista with the exception of Home Basic and Starter editions. This extends the handwriting recognition, ink collection,[29] and additional input methods to any computer running Vista even if the input device is an external digitizer, a touch screen, or even a regular mouse. Vista also supports MultiTouch functions and gestures (originally developed for the Microsoft Surface version of Vista) and is now usable by the public with the release of MultiTouch tablets.

[edit] Windows applications

There are many operating systems in use on devices marketed as tablets. Note that most tablet PC software is targeted particularly for the Microsoft Tablet PC API, and will not run on devices without Windows Vista or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Care should be taken when researching a tablet system or any device or software that claims to be designed for tablet PCs, as the phrase does not guarantee compatibility.

Applications developed for the tablet PC cater to the form factor and functionality available on the platform. Many forms of applications incorporate a pen-friendly user interface and/or the ability to handwrite directly in the document or interface.

A brief description of the applications included follows:

Experience Pack
  • Ink Desktop: an Active Desktop control designed to run in the background and allow the user to write directly on the desktop.
  • Snipping Tool: a screen capture application which allows the tablet pen to be used to select a portion of the screen and then annotate it and save as a file or send in an email.
  • Ink Art: a painting application developed by Ambient Design originally as ArtRage, licensed to Microsoft for release to Tablet PC users.
  • Ink Crossword: a crossword application developed to mirror the experience of a paper crossword puzzle on a tablet PC.
  • Media Transfer: a synchronization utility designed to download music, pictures, and videos off of computers in the same network.
Education Pack
  • Ink Flash Cards: an application designed to assist memorization by using a flash card approach, enabling the user to handwrite their own flash cards and display them back in a slideshow.
  • Equation Writer: a recognition tool specializing in converting handwritten mathematical equations to a computer-generated image for pasting into other documents.
  • GoBinder Lite: an organization and note-taking application developed by Agilix Labs.
  • Hexic Deluxe: a game with a tablet PC specific gesture enabled for easier use with the tablet and better

[edit] Linux

Running Linux on tablet PCs is as practical as on conventional notebooks. More recently, tablet PCs may also be configured with Linux pre-installed.

One early implementation of a Linux tablet was the ProGear by FrontPath. The ProGear used a Transmeta chip and a resistive digitizer. The ProGear initially came with a version of Slackware Linux, but could later be bought with Windows 98. Because these computers are general purpose IBM PC compatible machines, they can run many different operating systems.

Xorg now supports screen rotation and tablet input through Wacom drivers, and handwriting recognition software from both the Qt-based Qtopia and GTK+-based Internet Tablet OS provide promising free and open source systems for future development.

However, little mature desktop-oriented software of the sort has arisen, leading many users to rely on on-screen keyboards and alternative text input methods like Dasher.

TabletKiosk currently offers a hybrid digitizer / touch device running SUSE Linux. It is the first device with this feature to support Linux.

[edit] Apple

The aftermarketer Axiotron has introduced aftermarket, heavily modified Apple MacBooks called Modbooks, a Mac OS X-based tablet computer. It uses Apple's Inkwell for handwriting and gesture recognition and bundles additional digitization software from Wacom.

While Apple Inc. legally forbids and doesn't sanction running their operating system Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware,[citation needed] there are a large number of computer enthusiasts who are running slightly modified copies of Mac OS X on various x86 architecture PC models, among them Tablet PC computers.[citation needed] To get Mac OS X to talk to the digitizer on Tablet PC systems they use a free open source driver named TabletMagic originally written to support serial tablets for which Wacom no longer supplies Mac drivers.

[edit] Tablets vs. traditional notebooks

The advantages and disadvantages of tablet PCs are highly subjective measures. What appeals to one user may be exactly what disappoints another. The following are commonly cited opinions of the tablet PC platform:

[edit] Advantages

  • The ability to use in environments not conducive to a keyboard and mouse such as lying in bed, low lighting when a lighted screen is the input source, standing or with one hand.
  • Recording non-character based information such as diagrams and mathematical notation and symbols.
  • Lighter weight, lower power models can function similarly to dedicated reading devices like the Amazon Kindle.

[edit] Disadvantages

  • Higher cost — convertible tablet PCs can cost significantly more than their non-tablet counterparts although this premium has been predicted to fall.[30]
  • Input speed — handwriting can be significantly slower than peak typing speeds which can be as high as 50-150 WPM, though Swype and other technologies provide alternate, speedier methods of input.
  • Screen damage risk - Tablet PCs are handled more than conventional laptops yet built on the same frames and since their screens also serve as input devices (like PDAs) they run a higher risk of screen damage.

[edit] Designing around disadvantages

Manufacturers can design additional durability into the displays of tablets to effectively reduce screen damage risk, hinge failure, and screen size limitations. The use of scissor shock absorbers mounted to the screen, flexible connectors for data cables, molded magnesium alloy screen casing, durable and replaceable screen overlayments, and purpose built convertible hinges impact reliability.

[edit] Features

New Tablet PCs may have:

  • Capacitive technology, which senses touch of finger with no pressure required for system to recognize input.[31]
  • Digital palm recognition technology prevents inadvertent contact from disrupting pen input.[31]
  • Multi-touch recognizes multiple simultaneous touches, allowing for enhanced manipulation of on-screen objects.[32]
  • Sunlight readable displays (800 nit display) are clearly readable even in bright and direct sunlight.[33]
  • Docking station can improve the extensibility of tablet PC such as:battery ,Keyboard, USB, RS232, LAN and VGA.It usually design for using tablet PC as desktop computer.[34]

[edit] Popular models

Major tablet PC Manufacturers include Acer, Asus, Bosanova, Fujitsu, Gateway, Inc.,G-NET, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lenovo Group, LG Electronics, NEC, TabletKiosk, Quaduro-Systems, Motion Computing, Panasonic, and Toshiba.

Popular models include:

[edit] Slate

  • PaceBlade SlimBook 200
  • Quadpad Slate Style Tablet PC
  • Fujitsu Stylistic ST5010
  • Fujitsu Stylistic ST6012
  • Electrovaya Scribbler SC4000 series (older: SC2000, SC3000, SC3100)
  • G-NET Rugged Tablet PC
  • MobileDemand xTablet T8600 Rugged Tablet PC
  • Motion M1200, M1300, M1400, LE-Series, C5, LS800, LE 1700 and C5 which is targeted towards the healthcare industry
  • JLT8404 Field Tablet PC
  • Panasonic Toughbook 08
  • TabletKiosk Sahara i400 series
  • Samsung Q1 (Q1 Ultra)
  • Xplore Technologies
  • Axiotron Modbook

[edit] Convertible

  • Acer TravelMate C100/C300/C310
  • Asus R1F
  • Asus R1E
  • Averatec C3500 Series
  • Dialogue Flybook V5
  • Dell Latitude XT/XT2
  • Fujitsu LifeBook P1610/P1620/P1630(Slim, Ultra-portable, Small) /T4020, /T4210, /T4220 /T2010, /T5010 /T1010 (Latest)
  • Gateway C-140X (aka S-7235/E-295C)
  • Gateway C-120X (aka S-7125C/E-155C)
  • HP TC4200/TC4400
  • HP Compaq 2710p
  • HP Compaq EliteBook 2730p
  • HP Pavilion tx1000z
  • HP Pavilion tx2000z
  • HP Pavilion tx2500z
  • HP TouchSmart tx2z
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X41 Tablet
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X60 Tablet (known popularly as "X60t")
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Tablet (12.1" MultiView/MultiTouch XGA (1024x768) TFT)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X200 Tablet (12.1" WXGA (1280 x 800)) Released September 2008
  • LG XNote C1
  • LG LT-20-47CE
  • Panasonic Toughbook 19
  • Toshiba Portégé 3500/3505
  • Toshiba Portégé M200
  • Toshiba Portégé M400/405/700/750
  • Toshiba Portégé R400/405
  • Toshiba Satellite R10/R15/R20/R25
  • Toshiba Tecra M4/M7

[edit] Hybrid

[edit] Programs

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Gray (1888-07-31), Telautograph, United States Patent 386,815, 
  2. ^ Gray, Elisha (1888-07-31), Telautograph, United States Patent 386,815 (full image), 
  3. ^ Goldberg, H.E. (1915-12-28), Controller, United States Patent 1,117,184, 
  4. ^ Goldberg, H.E. (1915-12-28), Controller, United States Patent 1,117,184 (full image), 
  5. ^ Moodey, H.C. (1942-12-27), Telautograph System, United States Patent 2,269,599, 
  6. ^ Moodey, H.C. (1942-12-27), Telautograph System, United States Patent 2,269,599 (full image), 
  7. ^ Bush, Vannevar (1945-07-15), As We May Think, The Atlantic Monthly, 
  8. ^ Dimond, Tom (1957-12-01), Devices for reading handwritten characters, Proceedings of Eastern Joint Computer Conference, pp. 232–237,, retrieved on 2008-08-23 
  9. ^ RAND Tablet, 1961-09-01, 
  10. ^ 50 Years of Looking Forward, RAND Corporation, 1998-09-01, 
  11. ^ Pencept Penpad (TM) 200 Product Literature, Pencept, Inc., 1982-08-15, 
  12. ^ Inforite Hand Character Recognition Terminal, Cadre Systems Limited, England, 1982-08-15, 
  13. ^ Users Manual for Penpad 320, Pencept, Inc., 1984-06-15, 
  14. ^ Handwriter (R) GrafText (TM) System Model GT-5000, Communication Intelligence Corporation, 1985-01-15, 
  15. ^ The BYTE Awards: GRiD System's GRiDPad, BYTE Magazine, Vol 15. No 1, 1990-01-12, pp. 285, 
  16. ^ WANG Freestyle demo, Wang Laboratories, 1989,, retrieved on 2008-09-22 
  17. ^ Lempesis, Bill (1990-05), What's New in Laptops and Pen Computing, Flat Panel Display News, 
  18. ^ Agulnick, Todd (1994-09-13), Control of a computer through a position-sensed stylus, United States Patent 5,347,295, 
  19. ^ Agulnick, Todd (1994-09-13), Control of a computer through a position-sensed stylus, United States Patent 5,347,295 (full image), 
  20. ^ ([dead link]Scholar search)NCR announces pen-based computer press release,, retrieved on 2007-04-20 
  21. ^ ([dead link]Scholar search)Penpoint OS shipping press release,, retrieved on 2007-04-20 
  22. ^ Lenovo - The history of ThinkPad
  23. ^ Trends at COMDEX Event 1999,, retrieved on 2008-08-11 
  24. ^ Microsoft (2005), Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 Hardware Requirements,,, retrieved on 2009-03-14 
  25. ^ Mintz, Jessica (2008-04-04), Microsoft to Appeal $367M Patent Ruling, The Associated Press,, retrieved on 2008-09-04 
  26. ^ HP TouchSmart tx2z, HP,, retrieved on 2008-11-28 
  27. ^ MSDN: Windows XP Tablet PC Edition: Tablet PC: An Overview, Microsoft, 2004-08-24,, retrieved on 2008-09-04 
  28. ^ Windows XP Tablet PC Edition: Tablet PC: An Overview, Microsoft, 2002-06-01,, retrieved on 2008-09-04 
  29. ^ MSDN Ink collection
  30. ^ Convertibles: The new laptop bling? - CNET
  31. ^ a b Tablet PC offers capacitive touch sensing capability., Dell, Inc
  32. ^ jkOnTheRun:So what is multi-touch?
  33. ^ Rugged PC - Rugged Tablet PCs: Getac E100
  34. ^ Configuring Your Tablet PC for Business Success

[edit] External links

Tablet PCs in healthcare
Tablet PCs in education
Tablet PCs in construction
Personal tools