Since Microsoft debuted the Tablet PC late last year, the devices have varied in size but all have been about as big as a laptop. Now, several companies are experimenting with ones that are so small they rival handhelds.
Toshiba is developing a Tablet PC that is just slightly bigger than a postcard, according to CNet. This uses a miniature hard drive and a Pentium M processor. And Intel has created a reference design for one that is about twice the size of a credit card.
While these devices may be as small as a handheld, their prices are likely to be much bigger. Tablet PCs run a version of Windows XP, which means they will need processors much faster than are used in today’s handhelds and will also require large amounts of RAM and other storage.
Though it isn’t a Tablet PC, OQO is working on a device that runs Windows XP and is the size of a large handheld. This will use a Crusoe processor from Transmeta, 256 MB of RAM, a color screen and a 10 GB or 20 GB hard drive. The OQO is expected to cost between $1500 and $2000.
About Tablet PC
These are portable devices that run Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, which offers additional features to allow the Tablet PC to take handwritten input. These don’t use a touch screen; instead, they can detect the movements of a specific stylus. This is necessary because the user needs to be able to put his or her hand on the screen when writing, which isn’t practical with a touch screen.
Microsoft has created a system that is quite different from the typical handheld’s handwriting recognition system. Instead of translating each written character immediately into a type-written one, Tablet PC allows users to leave most of their material exactly as they entered it: handwritten. If the user chooses to convert handwritten notes into text that is possible but frequently it won’t be necessary.