August 2003

Xplore reports financials
Xplore Technologies, maker of rugged pen tablets and the iX104 rugged Tablet PC slate, issued first quarter financials. [see report] -- Posted Wednesday, August 27, 2003 by chb

Tablet PC project examines "e-learning" in Florida school
Textbook publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard teamed resources in a development project at Ocoee Middle School in Orange County, Florida. Starting this fall, seventh-graders will use Compaq TC1000 wireless Tablet PCs loaded with interactive course software as a pilot program for "e-learning." "I am pleased and excited that Ocoee Middle School was chosen to participate in this project with Microsoft, HP and Holt," said Katherine Clark, principal of Ocoee Middle School. "I believe that e-learning will be the key to unlock the potential of every student. The innovative Tablet PC technology and software, combined with the extensive Holt online curriculum, will have a tremendous impact on the teaching and learning process. I look forward to our involvement in this innovative educational initiative." -- Posted Friday, August 22, 2003 by chb

Microsoft publishes educational How-To articles on TPC
Microsoft has a fairly extensive Tablet PC section on its vast website, and the company also frequently posts "How-To" and technically oriented papers on tablet PC software development. An interesting example is Carlos Tapang's "Achieve the Illusion of Handwriting on Paper When Using the Managed INK API" [click to read] -- Posted Friday, August 22, 2003 by chb

Phoenix Technologies offers signature recognition for TPCs
BIOS specialist Phoenix Technologies announced SecureMark, a handwriting-based password protection scheme for its Phoenix Core Managed Environment FirstBIOS Tablet PC Pro. When implemented, SecureMark will prompt for a signature or other handwritten password during the system boot process. Placing access authorization into the boot process adds a substantial level of extra security. The release also stated that Wistron will be the first Tabet PC OEM/ODM to include SecureMark into their TPC products. [read press release] -- Posted Monday, August 11, 2003 by chb

National Semi's WebPad/Information Appliance quest over
For several years National Semiconductor was a leading proponent and champion for first WebPads based on its own Geode chips, then Information Appliances based on several platforms. That appears to have ended with AMD's August 6 announcement that it will acquire the information appliances unit from National Semiconductor. The info appliance group contributed less than 5% to National Semi's annual sales, but brings the Geode processor to AMD that it says it will use in Smart Displays and settop boxes. About 2/3 of National Semi's 200 employees that worked in the unit will migrate to AMD, the rest will be cut and their knowledge prsumably lost. This transaction appears to bring to a closure National Semi's years of tantalizing, innovative concept studies in alternate form factors for computing devices. Unfortunately, the company was never really able to combine chips, design, software, and overall purpose of the design into a compelling enough package to facilitate the conversion into marketable products. -- Posted Wednesday, August 6, 2003 by chb