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News Week of August 18, 2002


“...With Jaguar, Apple also added handwriting recognition with a technology called Inkwell. But Microsoft has offered a similar technology in Office XP for more than a year and will raise it to the operating system level with the Nov. 7 launch of Tablet PC...” (Source: Joe Wilcox, ZDNET & Beta News)

Apple to unleash Jaguar OS upgrade
Review: Apple's Jaguar is One Cool Cat
Posted Saturday, August 24, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Looking to innovate

“...At an impromptu meeting over lunch at Microsoft's Financial Analysts Day in July, Bill Gates said companies are not “super” innovative and don't produce reliable products. No earth-shattering revelations there, but in illustrating his point he asked, “Do you really need the next version of Office? I don't think so.” Gates' implied he acknowledged users need a compelling reason to upgrade to the next Office, my spy said. The only thing that sells software these days is the innovation factor, Gates claimed. “The Tablet is going to be the most viral thing ever,” Gates added. Of course, Microsoft has been touting the Tablet PC for quite some time...” (Source: Notes From The Field, Infoworld)
Posted Saturday, August 24, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Robot Wars Promote Tablet PCs and Peace

“..The competitors pounded away on their Tablet PCs for two weeks and the results were impressive. During the final competition, Dr. Alex Slocum, M.I.T. Professor in charge, demonstrated how the teams used Tablet PCs during the collaborative design process. He explained that the devices allowed participants to view one another's hand-drawn sketches far earlier in the process than in previous competitions...”

“...Of course, as with any technology, early adopters were quick to notice where there was room for improvement. A Microsoft representative left with a list of enhancements that the participating students requested in a future release of the new Tablet PC operating system...” (Source: Bruce Brown, PC Magazine)
Posted Saturday, August 24, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

TechEd (in India) to showcase Tablet PC

“TechEd, Microsoft’s annual technology conference to be held in September, will showcase products and technologies that the company would release in the coming months. The event will have special focus on next generation XML services, Global XML Architecture (GxA), Tablet PC, Pocket PC-Phone Edition, Smart Phone and Windows .Net server...The three day program is scheduled to be held in Bangalore on September 17-19, 2002 and September 23-25 in Mumbai.” (Source: CIOL)
Posted Friday, August 23, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

News Bits

Why built-in WiFi's not necessarily a good thing - David Berlind down on WiFi, and but halfway up on Tablet PC.

“...Suppose the device you want has built-in WiFi from a vendor other than the one that your company has standardized on. If your wireless infrastructure is enabled for a proprietary feature like LEAP and the WiFi guts of the Tablet PC you want come from a company other than Cisco, you may have a problem...”

Malaysian firm seals deal to make, sell tablet PCs in China - The eR, a low-cost “tablet PC” being marketed to China. Government-owned Nanjing Toptry Computer joint-venture morphed into Toptry Richmal Co Ltd. to produce sub-$1,000 tablet PCs.
Posted Friday, August 23, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Atari ST-PAD “STylus” Pen Tablet

Another bit of Tablet/Pen Computer history also (sadly) lost to time. The ever-glorious Atari TOS/GEM was extension-modded to produce PenOS.

“Long before the Apple Newton, the Atari ST Pad was designed along-side the ST Book system. Atari TOS was developed with pen-input functionality and character recognition (known as PenOS, extension for TOS/GEM)...ST-Pad, or STylus as it was known in early development, was another revolutionary Atari product which would not see commercial release.” (Source: Atari Time Machine)

Atari ST-PAD "STylus" Pen Tablet
The Atari / Newton Connection: The Theory
Atari STPad
STPad/STylus specs
Atari at CEBIT '91 STPAD Press Release
Tracy Hall and the ST-Book

Posted Thursday, August 22, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Scientists find way to 'type with eyes'

“Computer scientists have devised a method of “typing” without a keyboard using clever software that creates words and sentences using eye movements alone. Two Cambridge University researchers have shown that their invention does not result in eye-strain, is just as fast as conventional typing and results in fewer mistakes. David Ward and David MacKay, physicists in the university's Cavendish Laboratory, are making the software freely available in the hope that computer firms will use the idea, which promises to revolutionise technology for the disabled...” (Source: Steve Connor, Independent Digital)

Dasher Summary
Dasher download
Posted Thursday, August 22, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Building the Soldier of the Future

“...Soldiers can even use tablet PCs to send text messages. “That's really what Land Warrior was all about,” Duffy said. “To give [a soldier] the proper tools that a modern businessman has to communicate with his fellow soldiers.” But the system was almost cancelled when it was first proposed. “In the first round the government hired a defense contractor to build the system in a conventional way. It was a disaster,” Duffy said. The Pentagon nearly cancelled the program, but an Army representative suggested the task be turned over to computer experts. “It's consumer technology trickling into the military systems,” Duffy said. “It's the reverse of the way it was 10 years ago. That's the modern way to get things done.” The Land Warrior system is powered by ruggedized off-the-shelf technologies including a Pentium processor and Windows operating system.” (Source: Brandon M. Mercer, Tech Live)

Army Tests Land Warrior for 21st Century Soldiers
Platoon of Land Warriors to participate in September's JCF AWE (2000)
Augmented Reality
Land Warrior System
Posted Thursday, August 22, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

A Lost Momenta in Time, Tears in Rain

Momenta Pentop - This 386-based portable pen computer could run either Windows or a proprietary GUI environment and was considered intriguing enough to make the cover of BYTE in November 1991. But it weighed 7 pounds, cost $4995, and was hobbled by poor handwriting recognition. After its shining Momenta in the sun, the company expired in 1992.” (Source: Byte)

DISCOVER Awards for Technological Innovation - “MOMENTA - Development of the Momenta Pentop portable notebook computer, which runs all DOS and Windows applications and lets owners use either a pen or a traditional keyboard as an input device. Computer Hardware & Electronics - Finalist - 1992”

Momenta Specs

Fresh Start 2002: Starting Over ... and Over - “In the early 1990s, pen-based computing was the Next Big Thing. As chairman, president, and CEO of Momenta, Elahian was at the vanguard. The company's pyramid-shaped computer, which could recognize a user's handwriting, made the cover of 20 magazines. There was just one problem. No one bothered to build a market for pen-based computers. In three years, Momenta burned through $40 million. That's pocket change by dotcom standards, but back then it was real money. For a while at least, Elahian held the Valley's title for burning the most capital in the shortest period of time. Momenta was a monumental flop.”
Kamran Elahian (and Jerry Kaplan)
Beatriz V. Infante

Byte cover, Nov 1991
Posted Thursday, August 22, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Inventing the Tablet PC

Requested repost. Suzanne Ross' journalistic-styled narrative detailing the creation of the Microsoft Tablet PC.
Posted Thursday, August 22, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Ink or Recognition?

Emphasis on Ink. Ink as Ink.

“Microsoft has state-of-the-art handwriting recognition, but it's still not perfect and it may not work for you. So the Tablet PC is not being presented as a handwriting recognition machine, but instead as a product where the emphasis is on ink.” - Alex Loeb, Microsoft

“...the initial success of the Tablet PC is not dependent on 'perfect' handwriting recognition. We see great value in treating 'ink as ink'--allowing people to revise, edit, and repurpose their handwritten notes after they've written them on the computer screen using the stylus.” - Alex Loeb, Microsoft

“...Microsoft forced us reviewers to sit through a day and a half of propaganda before it would hand over the test machines. The basic message of this indoctrination (which I understand the North Koreans could have accomplished in six hours or less) is simple: “Handwriting recognition doesn't matter.” Repeat that to yourself for a couple of days, and you'll be right where Microsoft wants you: Ready to accept a Tablet PC with way-less-than-perfect handwriting recognition but a vastly improved system for handling electronic ink on electronic paper. If this is enough for you--and it will be for many users--Tablet PC will make you happy...” - (David Coursey, Executive Editor, AnchorDesk)

“Alex Loeb, general manger of the Tablet PC division, said handwriting technology had improved, but there was a limit to its use. “We do a bang-up job of for recognizing some people,” she said in a telephone interview. “And for people who can't read their own handwriting, we are right there with them.” (Source: Wired)

“Now, one of the things I think is very important is that we use the handwriting recognition but we also use ink. Guess what, ink is really pretty nice. People have been using ink for a long time. And so we actually think it’s very important that people be able to store things in ink...” - Jeff Raikes, Microsoft

Emphasis on Handwriting recognition? Now prime time?

“Handwriting recognition is here this year. It's ready for prime time now.” - Bill Gates

“We are doing super-aggressive recognition. Handwriting recognition, is not perfect, but it's so much better than it was five or six years ago.” - Bill Gates

“We're taking handwriting, which is such a natural thing, and tying it into the digital revolution. The move to a graphical user interface was as big a natural advance as we are making now with handwriting.” - Bill Gates
Posted Thursday, August 22, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Breakfast with Bill

“In a Tuesday morning meeting with hundreds of developers who packed a conference room in Toronto for an event called Breakfast with Bill, Mr. Gates indulged in a wide-ranging chat...”

“...Mr. Gates said he is...expecting big things for the Tablet PC, Microsoft's new personal computing platform due to hit the market later this year in the form of both touchscreen-enabled notebooks and touchscreen-only display tablets. “I've been using the Tablet PC for a few months, and already I couldn't live without it ... in combination with wireless networks,” he said.

“Despite the poor reputation for accuracy earned by technology involving handwriting recognition, all of which started with the disastrous Apple Newton, Mr. Gates said the technology in the Tablet PC is reliable and will drive another massive change in mainstream computing. “We're taking handwriting, which is such a natural thing, and tying it into the digital revolution. The move to a graphical user interface was as big a natural advance as we are making now with handwriting [recognition].” (Source: Ian Johnson, Globe and Mail)

Bill for leader! - Peter Foster, National Post.
Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Wireless High Tech Hospital

“George Washington University Hospital, the hospital that saved President Reagan's life after he was shot in 1981, says it's about to open its new “paperless” digital hospital, the first in the nation. The new hospital is outfitted with more than $25 million in high tech medical equipment and technology. The cornerstone is a wireless network that allows paperless and filmless access to patient data.” (Source: Gary Nurenberg, Tech Live)
Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Handwriting Recognition?

I thought the overall push was more 'Ink as a Datatype' and away from pure “handwriting recognition”...

“Handwriting recognition is here this year. It's ready for prime time now,” Mr. Gates said. This fall, Microsoft will begin selling what it calls the Tablet PC, a type of laptop computer that can record almost any kind of handwriting, be it text, drawings, or annotations. Microsoft hopes its tablet PC will be the first practical alternative to a paper-based notebook. Users will be able to scribble with a special pen on the tablet and the PC will be able to record it and understand whether the scribble is a picture or some text.”

“Think in terms of a tool that can listen to us, can talk to us and can recognize our handwriting,” Mr. Gates said. “All our work is about building that ultimate tool and there we can see incredible progress in a very well-defined time frame.” (Source: David Akin, The Globe and Mail)
Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Crusoe Processor Certified for Windows CE .NET

“Transmeta Corporation...announced that the company's energy-efficient Crusoe processors have been certified by Microsoft Corp. for the Windows CE .NET operating system, allowing new opportunities for Transmeta in mobile and embedded markets...” (Source: Press Release)

Microsoft certifies Transmeta chip for Windows CE .Net (Infoworld)

Transmeta WinCEs - “Transmeta has announced that it's entering the Windows CE business. Just as everyone else is leaving, you might jest. But the embattled chip start-up hopes that this avenue will give it a new lease of life. Transmeta has exhausted its financiers patience, and has been told to get profitable by the end of the year...” (Source: Andrew Orlowski, now in London)
Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Summiteers say content key to technology sales

“Whether consumer or business spending will drive the next wave of tech prosperity remains to be seen. What is already clear, according to speakers at opening sessions of the 2002 Aspen Summit, is that the next wave won't be spurred by new technology nearly as much as by what that technology can deliver. Rich content - whether it's better digital photos to send Grandma or wireless delivery of video that helps a real estate agent make a sale - is the key to information technology's future, speakers said...” (Source: Janet Forgrieve, Rocky Mountain News)
Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

ReVolution: Laptop / Tablet Computer

Kontron Mobile Computing...announced availability of the ReVolution -- a rugged, Windows-compatible, convertible notebook and tablet PC designed to meet the needs of field-deployed professionals. The newest addition to Kontron's full line of mobile computers, the convertible ReVolution truly is a first in rugged computing. With SwitchIt(TM), Kontron's custom, rugged, 180-degree display hinge, the ReVolution converts from a notebook to touch-screen tablet and back again in seconds. The upgradeable ReVolution also features impressive wireless communications capabilities and rugged construction designed to support the applications and challenging working conditions now common in field computing across many industries.” (Source: Press Release)
Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Business without boundaries

“Microsoft is exploring the concept of the “universal canvas” with its tablet PC. Users can search through handwritten messages and draw pictures directly onto documents, pulling down interacting functions from many programs in one document. “Until now we've had clunky phones and separate devices that we've had to carry around, and the information has been in islands, even on the same device,” says Microsoft .NET architecture group manager Greg Stone. The universal canvas “will fundamentally change the way people interact, not only with devices but also with each other”. Smart office tools will be able to present the same information on different devices and media - automatically sending a customer's request on voicemail as an email, for example.” (Source: Sholto Macpherson, AustralianIT)

Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Throw away your keyboard

Wireless Week is quite late per a PC Expo/TechXNY review, but fyi nevertheless. :)

“Microsoft's Bill Gates foresees the next ten years as a “digital decade,” by the end of which Americans will have converted all their information to digital storage. They'll be able to access it anywhere, regardless of hardware platform, wireless connection, or data medium. As a consequence, Gates predicts that worker productivity will double in that period.”

“It's a nice goal, but Gates' vision is a little short on details--how will we get there? Speaking at the PC Expo conference in New York in June, Micro-soft's Jeff Raikes, group VP for productivity and business services, filled in some of the blanks. His answer was the Tablet PC, being launched by Microsoft and its hardware and software partners on Nov. 7. Using touch-screen technology and borrowing heavily from the Palm Pilot interface, tablets could remove the barriers between people and their data...” (Source: Reed Business Information US, Reed Elsevier Inc.)
Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

Motion Computing to use CIC biometrics

“...CIC's popular Sign-On, biometric security application will be embedded in every Motion Computing Tablet PC. Additionally each unit will include a free 30-day trial version of CIC's Sign-it biometric electronic signature client software. Motion Computing will also distribute CIC's broad range of electronic signature and biometric authentication solutions worldwide through its direct distribution and network of resellers...” (Source: Press Release)

Motion Computing - “Founded in August 2001 largely by former Dell executives, Motion Computing's sole mission is to develop, manufacture, market and support a family of innovative ultra-mobile computing and communications products.”
Posted Monday, August 19, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

FinePoint Innovations

“FinePoint Innovations is a leading supplier of Electro-Magnetic Pen Input Technology to a number of VARs and OEMs in the Pen Computer Industry...FinePoint is currently focused on providing technology and product solutions to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and Value- Added Resellers (VAR). In addition to a numerous custom products, the MVT-12S Video Tablet provides the functionality of an interactive pen-input peripheral display for the desktop...” (Source: Press Release)
Posted Sunday, August 18, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a


Some items to bring you up to speed on the current state of the Tablet PC...

Fujitsu and the Acer Tablet PC pictures
Tablet Input Panel
Tablet PC Design Concepts
Windows Journal screenshot (Tablet PC Talk exclusive)
Exclusive pictures of a prototype Tablet PC (2001)
Chris De Herrera's video clip of the Tablet PC (WMV format)

And don't forget the 'tour-de-force' fantastic reporting from the Pen Computing gang...

Conrad Blickenstorfer on the Tablet PC (July 2002)
Tablet PC, July 2001
Tablet PC Magazine, 2002 (PDF)
First Look at Tablet PC (Acer TravelMate TM100)
Tablet PC resources
Tablet Taxonomy

Posted Sunday, August 18, 2002 by ChrisC
Rating: n/a

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