April 2006

VisionObject reco now on Pentel digital pen products
Vision Objects, which provides handwriting recognition technology, and Pentel that makes the Airpen Storage Notebook announced a distribution agreement and technology partnership where Pentel will include Vision Objects’ InkMagic handwriting recognition with their note taking solution. The Pentel Airpen Storage Notebook is an electronic pen that writes with normal ink on A5 format paper. It stores up to a hundred pages of handwritten notes, diagrams and sketches in its memory that can be uploaded to a PC. Our take: All sorts of hybrid recognition solutions have been tried in various ways (see the IBM TransNote, the Seiko SmartPad, and various others), and it's good to see that these efforts continue in various parts of the world. -- Posted Monday, April 24, 2006 by chb

Can Toshiba match BEO Hydis in wide-angle displays?
We've been raving about the BEO Hydis wide-angle displays that have set a new standard of excellence in displays, especially for Tablet PCs. Now Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology announced it has incorporated optically compensated bend (OCB) and field sequential technologies into a 9-inch TFT LCD panel. OCB technology provides wide viewing angles in all directions and ultra-fast response time. Pen Computing's Technology Editor provides initial commentary on the Toshiba wide-angle approach in the Pen Reader Q&A section. -- Posted Monday, April 24, 2006 by chb

InPlay introduces new battery-free digital pen/digitizer
InPlay Technologies announced today that its FinePoint Innovations subsidiary has expanded its product line with the introduction of a patent-pending, battery-free computing pen system. Like FinePoint's self-powered pen technology, the new MagicPoint 820 pen is a cordless, active RF digital pen versus the analog pen used with most pen computing systems in the Tablet PC market today. Detailed info on the MagicPoint 820, including a downloadable PDF, are available from the FinePoint site. -- Posted Thursday, April 20, 2006 by chb

UMPC: Processor choice redux?
Remember when the original Tablet PC spec called for a Transmeta processor? Only a couple of the earliest TPCs had one, the rest went with Intel, and now all use Intel. Digitimes points out that the same scenario seems to be happening with the UMPC platform. Microsoft apparently originally planned to promote VIA Technologies' inexpensive C7-M embedded processor for the UMPC. However, the OEMs, including Samsung, Asus, TabletKiosk, DualCor and PBJ all seem to favor (more expensive) Intel with its much greater brand recognition and R&D capabilities. Our take: The problem with the Transmeta and VIA chips was/is that they do not represent a realistic performance alternative. Even if the price is low, consumers won't adopt a product that doesn't perform. Had Microsoft suggested AMD, the situation might be different. -- Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006 by chb

Useful Tablet PC site: herbi.org
If you haven't already, add herbi.org to your Favorites list of useful Tablet PC websites. The self-proclaimed "Accessibility and the Tablet PC" web site's goal is to show how the Tablet PC may be able to help in the field of Accessibility, in ways that may not be so well suited to other computers. It shows many ways to use Tablet PCs to do things that aren't otherwise so simple with a computer, and also how to take the best possible advantage of a Tablet PC. Great job. -- Posted Monday, April 17, 2006 by chb

Skyscape Nurses Pocket Aide for mobile platforms
Skyscape, Inc., specializing in mobile point-of-care decision support solutions, announced the release of “Prentice Hall Nurse’s Drug
Guide 2006” formatted specially for PDAs and smart phones. The comprehensive guide provides safe, effective, current, and accurate drug administration information in a quickly accessible format. The fully revised 2006 edition includes the latest drugs approved by the FDA with key nursing implications highlighted throughout. This is the only drug guide to include Prototype Drugs for easier learning. Available for Palm OS, Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and smartphones, and Tablet PCs.
-- Posted Monday, April 17, 2006 by chb

Virginia Tech's Tablet PC requirement controversial
TMCNet reports on the Virginia Tech University College of Engineering's unprecedented step of requiring incoming freshmen to buy a Tablet PC as part of its technology requirement. The article cites general criticism on the requirement to buy a notebook as students supposedly use it in only a few courses. Others are concerned about the price gap between Tablet PCs and standard notebooks (similar concerns were voiced four years ago when the college required notebooks over desktops). Others felt tablets should be a recommendation and not a requirement. Perhaps the most interesting criticism was that Tablet PCs are "a solution to a problem that does not exist." [see report][see our report "Buying a Tablet PC for College] -- Posted Friday, April 14, 2006 by chb

Tennessee School for the Blind tries Tablet PCs
According to a report in the Mashville City paper, the Tennessee School for the Blind (TSB) is piloting a Tablet Personal Computer project for its legally blind high school students. Unlike students who are completely blind, legally blind children may be able to notice obstructions while walking or have some sense of form or light perception. While students who are completely visually impaired use Braille readers and Jaws, a special speech software, their “legally blind” counterparts use Jaws along with programs like Zoom Text, which can magnify regular font up to 16 times the standard size. According to TSB, students who are able to read magnified print are the “target audience” for the pilot Tablet PC project. -- Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2006 by chb