May 2003

Tablet PC sales lower than expected?
Taiwanese Digitimes claims that Tablet PC sales are not as strong as originally thought. Digitimes says Acer's sales dropped by half in the first quarter of 2003 and only picked up after the introduction of Acer's Centrino-based C110 unit. HP TPC sales were said to be lower than expected as well. Among suspected reasons are the high pricing of Tablet PCs and a lack of the expected level of support by Microsoft. Microsoft sources are quoted as saying that the Tablet PC market is close to expectations and that it takes some time for the market to accept a new product. The company also supposedly said that the upcoming Tablet PC-friendly Office 2003 would boost Tablet PC sales. Our opinion? At this point none of those sales figures mean too much and the same pertains to speculations as to why and how. Microsoft made a commitment and it will take time for this market to develop. -- Posted Friday, May 30, 2003 by chb

Seattle Times trashes Tablet PC
Calling it "an expensive, under-powered machine in search of a niche," the Seattle Times soundly trashed the Tablet PC concept during a review of the Fujitsu Stylistic ST4110. The review criticised the lack of power, handwriting recognition (especially the lack of a training facility) and editing, and the idea of a Tablet PC in general. [see review] -- Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2003 by chb

Fujitsu introduces Stylistic with reflective display
The first generation of Tablet PCs all used standard transmissive displays, which means their outdoor readability is marginal at best. Today, Fujitsu PC Corporation announced the availability of a reflective front light display option for its Stylistic ST Series of Tablet PCs. The 10.4-inch reflective display offers the same 1024 x 768 XGA resolution as the transmissive version. Pricing for a base ST (933 MHz Pentium M, 256MB RAM, 30GB disk) starts at just US$2,199, making the latest Stylistic remarkably affordable for those who wish to bring XP Tablet PC Edition functionality outdoors. [see release] -- Posted Tuesday, May 20, 2003 by chb

Full service Tablet PC for half the price?
WintopUSA announced the iMe Tablet PC as a full service Tablet PC for half the price. The iMe has a footprint slightly smaller than a standard 8-1/2x11 sheet of paper, is 1.2 inches thick, weighs three pounds and has all the standard ports and connectivity. However, no info on the processor, the display is small (8.4 inches) and only has a touch panel, not an active digitizer. Depending on final pricing, the iMe could be a nice low cost tablet PC for many application, but without the ability to run the XP Tablet PC Edition, it is not a Microsoft-standard Tablet PC with a capital T. -- Posted Friday, May 16, 2003 by chb

PenLab reviews four new Tablet PCs
Pen Computing Magazine's PenLab has completed reviews of four new Tablet PC products. They are the Intermec CT60 (also WalkAbout XRT), XPlore iX104 (also sold by Symbol), Electrovaya Scribbler, and FIC SlateVision. Full reviews will be published in Pen Computing's June 2003 edition. PenLab also analyzed the use of X Servers on Tablet PCs to gain access to Unix/Linux applications. Look for a detailed report in the June edition. -- Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2003 by chb

Motion formally introduces Centrino-based M1300
Motion Computing of Austin, Texas, officially introduced the M1300, a Centrino-based follow-up to the company's well-received M1200 pen slate. the M1300 uses Intel's Centrino technology consisting of a 900MHz ultra low voltage Pentium M processor, the Intel 855 chipset and the intel PRO/Wireless 2100 Network Connection. The company claims the M1300, which retains the M1200's design and connectivity, is up to 30% faster and has 10-15% more battery life. The M1300 is available now (delivery within seven to ten days of order) and pricing starts at US$2,099. The M1200 remains available starting at US$1,999. -- Posted Monday, May 12, 2003 by chb

Dead pen update
We recently reported on the untimely death of our Toshiba Portege 3500's acvtive pen after a minor drop to the floor, which left the Portege a simple notebook computer. Fortunately, a number of helpful entities came to the rescue. Wacom pointed out that you can get replacement pens from Wacom directly. All Tablet PC pens work on all other Wacom-equipped Tablet PCs (they sent us a generic Wacom pen to prove it). A.T. Cross took the opportunity to give us a look at their yet to be released, superb Penabled Executive Pen [see press release in pdf form]. And Micro Warehouse was actually able to overnite a couple of genuine Toshiba pens. Finally, even the Toshiba pen we ordered arrived before the "one to two week delivery" the site stated. Moral of the story: you will lose/damage an active pen. Have a backup or two. And Tablet PC vendors, think about having an overnite pen replacement service. -- Posted Monday, May 12, 2003 by chb

Acer releases TravelMate C110
Acer gave its pioneering TravelMate C100 convertible notebook a facelift in the form of a switch to Intel's Centrino technology and a number of subtle upgrades and enhancements. The new C110 model features a 900MHz ultra low voltage Pentium M processor, the 855GM chipset and integrated Intel PRO/wireless 2100 or 2100A network connection. Standard RAM is 256MB, upgradable to 2GB. Hard disks now go up to 60GB, and an external DVD/CD-RW drive is optional. Pricing starts at US$1,899. -- Posted Thursday, May 8, 2003 by chb

First dead pen at Pen Computing Office
It had to happen. The Wacom pen of our Toshiba Portege Tablet PC fell on the floor and stopped working. An autopsy revealed a broken magnetic core. The Portege has no backup pen and according to the Toshiba website replacement pens "usually ship within 1-2 weeks." Ouch. I called to see if I could get one overnighted. No can do, says Toshiba (or rather a fairly grouchy rep). Double-ouch! Until a new pen arrives the Portege is now a regular notebook without pen functionality or ink. -- Posted Thursday, May 1, 2003 by chb