S eptember

Tablet PC, Netbook, Mobile PC & Multi-Touch News, Reviews,Comparisons, Software and Accessories



Tablet PC News Archive

August 2009


August 3, 2009

Why 2010 Will Be the Year of the Tablet
Wired News

After years of enticing rumors, ambitious prognostications and flat-out blather, 2010 may finally be the year that the tablet PC evolves from being a niche device to becoming a mainstream portable computer.

The tipping point comes via word to Wired.com from a well-connected industry executive that mainstream heavyweights Dell and Intel are collaborating on a touchscreen tablet due for release next year. Though our source has learned little about specifications of the device, what’s apparent is that the tablet will serve as a subscription-based e-reader for displaying newspapers, magazines and other media, giving Amazon’s Kindle — particularly, the nearly $500 large-format DX model — a run for its money.


August 4, 2009

Tablet PC Could Create New Market for Windows 7
Microsoft Watch

Whether or not you asked for it, the era of the tablet PC could very well be upon us.

Following industry-wide rumors that Apple plans on releasing a tablet computer later in 2009, Wired is now reporting via "a well-connected industry executive" that Dell and Intel "are collaborating on a touch-screen tablet due for release next year." All this comes on the heels of Amazon's ever-expanding Kindle line of eReaders, particularly the large-screen Kindle DX, which Jeff Bezos trumpets as capable of displaying business documents in addition to eBooks.

If companies such as Dell and Intel are entering the tablet PC market, can Microsoft be far behind? Of course not. If a May 2009 report by research firm DisplaySearch proves correct, and the touch-screen market is on the verge of tripling from $3.6 billion to $9 billion over the next six years, it's virtually a sure thing that Microsoft will want a piece of that action.

The upcoming Windows 7 would be the logical choice of operating system for Microsoft to push for any hypothetical (or not-so-hypothetical) tablet PC. Indeed, a recent post on the Windows Team blog indicates that touch capabilities are being integrated into Windows 7. To wit:

"Windows Touch and multi-touch features provide a natural, intuitive way for users to interact with PCs. Companies such as Roxio, Corel and Cegid are all enabling Windows Touch in their applications."



According to various rumors and reports, Apple's got a new slate-style Netbook in the works that applet touchbookmay be announced as soon as next month. While we have no confirmation from Apple--or anybody else--that such a product really exists, that doesn't mean we can't do a little market survey and ask you what the thing should be called.

If the rumors are at all on target, the final product will look something like a jumbo iPod Touch. However, what's interesting is that such a PC would most likely be a crossover product for Apple and straddle several product families, includes iPods, MacBooks, and maybe even Apple TV. So, is it part of one of those families or a whole new category unto itself?

Only time will tell, but for now you can cast your vote in our poll of popular candidates or write in your own choice in the comments section. We strongly doubt we'll have any influence whatsoever over Apple's decision, but, hey, people at Apple do read CNET. At least a couple do anyway.


Some Thoughts On The Past and Future in Mobile Computing
Gotta Be Mobile

  • The two best convertible tablet pc’s I’ve used to date are Lenovo’s X200 and HP’s 2730p. All around, though, I have to give it to the Lenovo’s X200. I like the 2730p purely from a design perspective, but struggled with HP’s slick dura-finish keyboard. If I were buying a tablet today, Lenovo would rank as first on my list, and likely always will.
  • As I read all the reports about tablet this and tablet that, I’m reminded that the Tablet PC was first introduced in 2001. The form factor that Bill Gates and others have been trumpeting is finally coming into its own. Remember the HP TC1100, the LS800, and others? It is time for the likes of Motion Computing, TabletKiosk, and Fujitsu to stand up and take ownership of what is now a prime opportunity. You’ve owned this space for years, act like you own it now.
  • One of my biggest disappointments in the Tablet PC software space has been with Microsoft’s Office team. We are no further along with inking in Office than we were five or six years ago. What we’ve got in Office 2010 is some redesigned ways to get to the same tools. Microsoft owes Josh Einstein a huge “thank you” for ink-enabling their own application and keeping interest in ink alive.
  • From a pure tablet pc note-taking experience, InkSeine cannot be beat. It’s best feature is that it isn’t OneNote. It is like the Kindle for notetaking - get out of the way and let the user take notes. My fondest memories from the past several years is getting to meet Ken Hinckley and Raman Sarin.
  • For brainstorming and organizational notetaking, MindJet’s MindManager is a keeper. They’ve got some work to do to improve the tablet pc experience, but on the whole, there couldn’t be a better match than MindManager and a digital pen.

So, go be mobile. Whip out that Tablet PC and enjoy some writing. Kick back in one of those comfy chairs in your favorite independent coffee shop and enjoy browsing the web TODAY the way people are talking about wanting to do it tomorrow.


August 5, 2009

New Fujitsu ESPRIMO Tablet PC Wins iF Product Development AwardFujitsu ESPRIMO Tablet PC
Applied Product Design

Fujitsu was recently awarded the coveted iF (International Forum) Product Design Award for its ESPRIMO series of mobile computers. One of the products in this series is the ESPRIMO MA notebook, designed specifically for the health sector.

Fujitsu’s substantial investment in product design appears to have paid off for the company, as the health sector tablet PC in particular has met some challenging design brief criteria. The notebook had to fit in with the way hospitals and medical facilities hold hygiene as a top priority – that is, making it easily cleanable and not likely to harbour germs.

The result is a striking, cutting edge looking piece of technology that meets the durability standards required by the health profession. The touch-screen basis of the product and the simple fact that it does not need to be opened like a traditional laptop, makes it a very easy to use piece of product design.


Windows 7 - Tablet PC Handwriting recognition Updates
Tablet PC Blog

Tablet PC users have been amongst the few friends of Windows Vista to date due to the significant improvements of handwriting recognition, pen and touch input from Windows XP.

There are some significant improvements in the way that Windows 7 handles recognition, even after the leap forward that we had with Vista.

It’s all thanks to an enormous amount of work from the Windows Engineering Input team. You can read more about their incredible work here:

Some of the features that you can expect to see in Windows 7:

  • Inline text recognition - less mental power required!
  • New correction gestures and options
  • Improved support for East Asian Languages - Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Japanese
  • Math Input
  • Easier web addresses
  • Touch optimised keyboard.

Here are some video previews (bear in mind that screen capture programs don’t do well at following tablet input due to the graphics intensity, so the videos don’t do it justice… but you get the idea).


As with Vista, Windows 7 recognition keeps getting smarter. You can train the recogniser to work with you particular writing style and the system also learns automatically from your corrections.

The correction methods are awesome in Windows 7 and it is very difficult to work on Vista now without them!

Win7 tip

We can happily say that Windows 7 will be a big boost to your Tablet PC productivity.

For Tablet PC veterans, some of the changes may take a little getting used to. Seeing your chicken scratch turn into nice legible words on the go is a little disconcerting initially.

It was only when I read the articles above and analysed my method of working in the TIP (Tablet Input Panel) that I realised how much concentration it takes to work that way. Windows 7 lowers the requirements significantly by converting your handwriting as you go.


Going Paperless? Don't Forget the Tablet PC
Gotta Be Mobile

Lifehacker has posted “The Complete Guide to Going Paperless,” which is kind of a big claim for such a concise write-up. Still, I think it hits all the key points. I’ve implemented all of them to some degree in the office and to a lesser degree at home (I am to screen as my wife is to paper). One tool I’ve used to help implement the move to being paper-free is my Tablet PC.


August 7, 2009


Apple Inc. may add $1.2 billion to annual sales next year if it releases a tablet computer that resembles a larger version of the iPod Touch, Piper Jaffray & Co. said.

The company may be able to sell 2 million tablet computers with a price tag of $600, adding about 3 percent to revenue, said Gene Munster, a Piper Jaffray analyst in Minneapolis. He expects Cupertino, California-based Apple to release the device early next year.

A tablet would help Apple compete with netbook computers by offering a machine that could surf the Web and play movies, Munster said. Sales of netbooks -- portable computers that typically cost less than $500 -- will almost double this year, compared with a 12 percent drop for the PC market overall, according to researcher Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut.

“We believe Apple’s tablet would compete well in the netbook category even though it would not be a netbook,” Munster wrote. The device may cost as much as 50 percent less than the cheapest MacBook, which costs $999, he said


Stealth Computer Releases their latest Notebook Warrior PC
A Hybrid Rugged Notebook/Tablet Computer

Stealth.com Inc. (Stealth Computer) a leading ISO 9001 manufacturer of industrial rugged computers and peripherals has released their new hybrid Notebook Warrior stelth tablet pcseries computer. The all-new Stealth Model: NW-2000 Rugged PC provides the ultimate in mobile flexibility with the ability to quickly transform from a rugged notebook PC into a rugged Tablet PC in seconds. (and vice-versa)

Stealth’s versatile and full-featured ruggedized notebook/tablet computer was built to handle demanding environments in both indoor and outdoor/field applications. The NW-2000 rugged mobile machine meets Military Standard MIL-810F specifications providing for superior performance over commercial grade products. Stealth’s Notebook Warrior is encapsulated in a magnesium alloy chassis with built-in weather protective doors for all I/O ports. The IP54 / NEMA13 environmental protection provides a degree of defense in adverse operating conditions with protection from lint, dust and the spraying of water.

“The Stealth NW-2000 Rugged Notebook/tablet is the ideal solution for Government; industrial/commercial customers who are interested in the ability to work in rough environments yet maintain productivity without the risk of data or performance losses” stated Ed Boutilier President & CEO of Stealth.com Inc.

Stealth’s NW-2000 ships standard with a sunlight viewable 13.3″ WXGA (1280 x 800) LCD screen, ideal for high ambient light conditions. The external video graphics output provides resolutions up to QXGA (2048 x 1536). A built-in touch screen sensor allows finger-touch inputs directly on the LCD or the use of a stylus pen (included) for pinpoint data input accuracy. Stealth’s rugged machine is powered with the Intel Memrom ultra low voltage processor providing for efficient power and thermal management. The Stealth NW-2000 measures just 9.96″(D) x 13.54″(W) x 2.31″(H) or (253mm x 344mm x 59mm) and weighs 9.04lbs (4.1kg)



PC vendors include Asustek Computer, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Dell and Micro-Star International tablet pc(MSI) are all preparing to launch new tablet PCs as Apple is expected to release a 9.7-inch tablet PC as early as November 2009, according to industry sources.

MSI is scheduled to launch a 10-inch tablet netbook at the beginning of 2010, while HP also plans to launch an Inventec-manufactured tablet netbook in April or May 2010. Both netbooks are expected to adopt Intel's Pine Trail-M platform.

Asustek has already released its tablet Eee PC T91 and will launch 10-inch model along with Windows 7.

With the new tablet PC category covering both 4- to 6-inch mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and 7- to 10-inch netbooks, sources believe the entry-level price tablet PC market will become a new battlefield for PC vendors starting in the fourth quarter.


August 10, 2009

Slippery Brick

Netbooks are huge right now with the little machines racking up sales numbers that traditional Gigabyte T1028x netbooknotebooks are having a hard time matching. The sweet spot for netbooks today is the 10.1-inch screen size and Gigabyte has announced a new convertible netbook that should appeal to many users.

The machine is called the T1028x and its 10.1-inch screen is touch sensitive. The machine has a 6-cell battery with 54wh or power, so its run time should be pretty good. Other features include a screen resolution of 1366 x 768, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and an ExpressCard 34 slot.

The machine uses an Intel Atom N280 CPU, 1GB of RAM and has 160GB of storage space. There is no sign of an MSRP for American, but the machine is available in Europe for the equivalent of $702. That seems like too much for the feature set the netbook offers to me.


Apple tablet will succeed

The Apple tablet, if it arrives, is an extension of a design that already has mass appeal--and does not require a leap of faith to believe it will succeed.

The Apple iPhone and iPod are arguably small tablets--and consumers have demonstrated unmistakably that they love these devices. So, a larger, more versatile version of the iPod makes perfect sense.

And some not-so-small companies like Qualcomm and Intel are pushing tablet-like devices for their next-generation silicon. So this isn't just Apple (if the Apple tablet rumors are indeed true).


Ballmer confirms Windows 7 Starter restrictions for netbooks

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently confirmed that the company will limit Windows 7 Starter, the edition expected to end up on netbooks, to systems that sport small screens and low-powered processors.

During Microsoft's annual financial analyst day July 30, Ballmer got more specific than other executives in describing the limitations computer makers must abide by if they're to install Starter on their machines. Starter is the least feature-rich edition of the operating system available worldwide, and will not be sold direct to consumers or businesses. It will be available only to OEMs, or "original equipment manufacturers," such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba.

Microsoft will only sell Starter to OEMs for use on netbooks that have a 10.2-in. or smaller screen, no more than 1GB of memory, a hard disk drive of 250GB or less (or a solid-state drive no larger than 64GB) and a single-core processor no faster than 2GHz.

Ballmer was frank with analysts about Microsoft's rationale for setting Starter's limitations. "We want people to be able to get the advantages of lightweight performance and be able to spend more money with us, with Intel, with HP, with Dell and with many, many others," he said.

"With today's netbooks, we sell you XP at a price," Ballmer continued. "When we launch Windows 7, an OEM can put XP on the machine at one price, Windows 7 Starter Edition at a higher price, Windows 7 Home Edition at a higher price, and Windows 7 Professional at a higher price."

Microsoft has not disclosed pricing for Starter, since the edition will be sold only in volume to OEMs, and will not be available to end users at retail.


Leading PC Vendors Said to Be Preparing New Tablet pcs

Ongoing rumors of a new Apple device that could be released as the company’s first tablet PC have stirred up the industry, according to recent reports on the Internet. Apparently, leading PC vendors like ASUSTeK Computer, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Dell and Micro-Star International are set to launch new tablet PCs as early as the beginning of next year. The same reports indicate that the Cupertino, California-based company is expected to unveil its first tablet PC as early as November this year.

In a Digitimes news-report from last week, citing the ever-present industry sources, ASUS, HP, Dell and MSI are said to be preparing the launch of new tablet PCs that will follow the release of Apple’s much-hyped similar product. Taiwanese manufacturer MSI is said to be preparing the launch of a 10-inch tablet netbook for early 2010, while leading PC maker HP is also reported to be readying one for April or May 2010, which will be manufactured by Inventec.

These new netbooks from both HP and MSI are expected to adopt Intel’s next-generation Pine Trail-M platform for netbooks, which boasts a new 2-chip configuration, compared to the current 3-chip solution for Atom netbooks. There are no specific details related to said Dell tablet PC, but the Round Rock, Texas-based computer vendor isn’t likely to stand hands-crossed as other players in the industry are updating their product lines.

ASUSTeK has already unveiled its Atom-based Eee PC T91, a tablet PC that incorporates Intel’s low-power Atom platform. The company is, however, looking to update its lineup with a new 10-inch model that will adopt Microsoft’s much-anticipated Windows 7 operating system.

Powered by Intel’s next-generation Atom processor, these new tablet PCs could be introduced at some rather low price points, which isn’t likely to be the case with Apple’s much-rumored tablet device. In addition, the market is expected to expand to new form factors, featuring screen sizes from 4 inches to 10 inches or more.


Washington Post

Dell has retired their 12-inch Intel Atom-powered netbooks, they said today. The official reason - "It really boils down to this: for a lot of customers, 10-inch displays are the sweet spot for netbooks¿Larger notebooks require a little more horsepower to be really useful."

So why is Dell really discontinuing 12-inch netbooks? Dell Netbooks

Probably a couple of reasons. First, Intel doesn't like 12-inch netbooks because they are deep into dual core territory, where Intel has much healthier profit margins. For casual users a 12-inch netbook with an Atom chip works just fine, and they are buying these devices instead of more expensive dual core machines. Intel has put pressure on OEMs to build netbooks that have 10 inch or smaller screens.

This includes direct pricing pressure - Intel prices Atom chips based on the size of the device screen. Anything over 10 inches is priced higher than devices with 10 inch or smaller screens. We think this is an inappropriate way to price Atom chips.


August 11, 2009


We feel like we've been waiting a long time for this, but Netbooks running Atom processors Samsung N510 Netbookalongside Nvidia's Ion GPU are finally coming to the America...soon.

Reports from Liliputing.com claim that the Samsung N510, an 11.6-inch Netbook, is on its way next month. Included in the N510 will be HDMI out and an "ability to handle Blu-ray," though we're not sure how that will apply in a laptop without an optical drive. We're still waiting for the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 Ion version to arrive--we reviewed the non-Nvidia Atom version of the IdeaPad S12, and found that we really missed the idea of an added graphical boost to what was otherwise a standard Netbook affair.



Rumors about an "iPad" — an Apple "tablet" computer that would be similar to a large iPhone —are picking up steam.

Gene Munster, a highly respected senior research analyst at the investment firm Piper Jaffray, says representatives of an Asian component manufacturer told him that they had received orders from Apple for parts to build a tablet computer — a project code-named "Touch."

The tablet, Munster says, would most likely sell for between $500 and $700, have a 10-inch touch screen, and use an operating system similar to that of the iPhone.

Like an iPhone, it would have music, movies, e-mail, and Web browsing capabilities. It could also compete with the Amazon.com's Kindle as an e-reader, with Apple selling digital books, newspapers and magazines through its iTunes store.

Munster believes that applications would be sold through the Apple app store, but that the tablet's larger screen would allow multiple applications to run simultaneously.


August 12, 2009

TAG Launches Cutting-Edge Ultra-Mobile PC

Technology Advancement Group® Inc. (TAG®) released their newest product, the second umpcgeneration of the TC-100 Commander, today. This latest device from TAG defines the cutting edge of fast, mobile handheld computers, featuring a sunlight readable display, a touch screen, unparalleled I/O flexibility, and customizable button configurations.

TAG's TC-100, also known as the "Commander," sets the stage for mobile computers with state-of-the-art technology, specifically hardened to resist the harshest environments of modern tactical field applications. The updated model provides the performance of a dedicated, lightweight (3.8 lbs) computer in a streamlined, portable form factor.


August 13, 2009

Free Virtual On Screen Keyboard For Ultra-mobile PC, Tablet PC

Free Virtual Keyboard works on all the versions of windows based on UMPC which have a passive touch screen like in Ultra-Mobile-PC, Tablet PC and Panel PC. This could  be really useful for your tablet pc in which you can reply to all the mails using this virtual keyboard  virtual keyboard

This free virtual keyboard is large enough for your finger tips, it also allows people with mobility impairments to type using the pointing device.
This small utility is completely portable and does not require any installation, so you can run it from any source including your portable USB drive




Zune HD, the next generation of Microsoft Corp.’s portable digital media player, is available now for pre-order and is set to hit store shelves on Sept. 15. The player, available in 16GB and 32GB Zune HDcapacities, is the first touch-screen Zune and includes powerful playback technology to give you a different way to experience media on the go. Combined with unparalleled PC software and online services such as Zune Pass, Zune provides a rich and meaningful connection to music, videos, podcasts and more.

Pre-order Zune HD in 16GB Black and 32GB Platinum through http://www.zune.net/zunehd from Amazon.com, Best Buy, Walmart and Microsoft. Beginning Sept. 15, at http://www.ZuneOriginals.net, both 16GB and 32GB capacities of Zune HD will be available in five different colors with the option to customize your player with one of 10 new engravings designed by guest artists.

WHAT:     With a sleek and stylish design, Zune HD is the first to combine these features:

Built-in HD Radio™ receiver. Allows you to listen to higher-quality sound than is available from traditional radio channels, as well as access additional programming through HD2 and HD3 multicast channels from many of your favorite local FM radio stations at no extra cost.

HD video output capabilities. Supports HD video playback from the device through a premium HDMI A/V docking station (sold separately) directly to an HDTV in 720p, making it easy to enjoy better-than-DVD-quality video on your own big screen at home.

OLED touch screen. Allows you to easily flip through music, movies and other content. The 3.3-inch glass screen and 16:9 widescreen format display (480x272 resolution) offer a premium viewing experience.

Built-in Wi-Fi. Allows for browsing, streaming or downloading new music from Zune Marketplace.

Internet browser. Full-screen Web browsing, optimized for the multitouch screen with zoom-in and zoom-out gestures.



Consumers aren’t the only ones gearing up for the October 22nd release of  Microsoft Windows 7. Hardware vendors are also priming the pump. DigiTimes says that three more touchscreen vendors just received the official Windows 7 Logo certification for their display panels. Wintek is the latest recipient for the logo with their 12.1″ capacitive panel. Cando is also certified with a 12.1″ display, but adds a compatible 10.1″ model option. EETI offers a trio of Windows 7 certified panels sized at 10.4″, 11.6″, and 15″.

With traditional netbooks generally in the 13.3″ to 17″ inch size, it sounds like most of these touchscreen panels are destined for either netbooks or ultra-light and thin notebooks. I’d be interested to see a light, usable Tablet PC with the new Intel CULV processor. One of those 12.1″ touchpanels would be an ideal size, but unfortunately, they’re both capacitve.


Dell and Nickelodeon Team Up to Create a Kid-Friendly Netbook

Ah, kids these days. . . when they're not gabbing away on their cell phones, they've got their faces glued to the screens of portable gaming devices. Dell Nickelodeon Slime netbook

Well Dell is next in line to target younger audiences by working closely with Nickelodeon to create a 10.1-inch mini Inspiron netbook. The laptop, which is covered in the signature-green slime design by iCarly, comes fully loaded with entertaining and educational content and a Nickelodeon-branded desktop wallpaper and icons.

The price of this three-pound netbook hasn't been announced as of yet, but you can expect it to be around the same price as the regular mini 10. They will be available in Dell and Wal-Mart store shelves starting this October.


Partnership with Capcom® Brings First ZEN Pinball Expansion Table to PlayStation®NetworkZEN PINBALL STREET FIGHTER™ II TRIBUTE TABLE

The Street Fighter™ II global legacy continues!  ZEN Studios, the definitive leader in arcade-style pinball videogames in partnership with Capcom®, announced today that the hard hitting ZEN Pinball Street Fighter II Tribute table is confirmed to be released on August 20, 2009 as the first expansion table for ZEN Pinball, and will be available for PlayStation®Network.
“This is our first expansion table for ZEN Pinball and we couldn’t be happier to bring this amazing franchise of Capcom’s over to PSN,” said Zsolt Kigyossy, managing director of ZEN Studios.  “The Street Fighter II Tribute table for Pinball FX was one of the most popular XBLA downloads of all time, and with new gameplay features and enhancements we’re confident that we’ll achieve similar if not more success for ZEN Pinball.”


Which Tablet (PC) Will You Swallow--Apple's or Android's?
Fast Company

As speculation increases on the InterWebs about Apple's mythical tablet Mac, spurred by some leaked video, another cool-looking tablet MID has surfaced, and this one's powered by Google's Android. It's the year of the tablet PC!

tablet pc

Check out the unidentified slate/tablet form-factor device--it's an extremely sexy-looking beast, even if its design cues are unashamedly ripped from the iPhone.

Not much detail is known about it, but it's supposedly got a touchscreen in the 5-inch range, is powered by a Rockchip CPU, will feature apps like MSN Messenger and GTalk, will have Wi-Fi and maybe 3G-connectivity. That all makes it sound pretty intriguing--and leveraging off the Android OS is a smart move because it will allow access to Android apps, adding significantly to the power of the thing. The inclusion of 3G, and its diminutive size may make this gizmo sound a little more like a smartbook than a MID though--unless the 3G option is purely for data connectivity.


August 14, 2009

Can the netbook revive the Tablet PC?
The Age

If you found the Tablet PC a bit hard to swallow, a swivel-screen netbook could be the answer.

Tablet PCs seem like a great idea but, with the exception of a few niche markets, they never really took off. The first Windows-based Tablet PCs were very underwhelming - bulky, expensive and underpowered compared to the equivalent notebook of the day. They certainly failed to deliver the futuristic user experience that I think many people were hoping for.

To many people I think the dream Tablet PC is really more of a Slate PC. Terminology varies, but generally a Slate PC is considered to be a Tablet PC with the keyboard ripped clean off rather than just folded behind the display. I know I've long been dreaming of a sub-1kg, A4 or A5 slim-line slate - the kind of thing a Star Trek ensign would hand to the captain, listing the week's duty roster. Apple's rumoured Tablet sounds like it comes close to this, but Apple rumours are like rectums - practically everybody's got one. I learned long ago not to put my faith in supposed leaks from Cupertino.

While rumours of Apple vapourware circulate, there are a few netbook-style Tablet PCs that are actually on the shelves. Asus' Eee PC T91 seems to show a lot of promise, although I haven't got my hands on a review unit yet. It weighs in at a fraction under 1kg and a fraction under $1000, with an LED backlit 8.9 inch display - the absolute smallest I'd consider for netbook. The touchscreen works with both a stylus and your finger but, unlike the iPhone, it's not multi-touch so you can't do things like pinch the screen to zoom in and out on photos.



August 17, 2009

Better Together Back to School Giveaway: 25 dv6 & Mini 110 Bundles

The “Back to school: Better Together” promotion will help you achieve your goals. hp back to school

Thanks to HP, Microsoft and Timbuk2 we put together a great prize bundle that we are sure has everything you need to perform well at school.

This promotion is supported by 25 websites – and each of these has a prize bundle to giveaway. Each prize bundle comes with two laptops, software and a custom bag: 25 of those bundles, 25 winners, all up for grabs throughout August 2009.

Each website will run its own competition on the dates listed. You can enter in as many competitions you want for more chances to win one of the 25 prize bundles.

- One HP dv6 laptop (Intel Core 2 Duo P7350, Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit, 4GB RAM, 500GB SATA HDD, BluRay ROM SuperMulti with LightScribe, HP webcam, integrated fingerprint reader, WiFi 802.11 a/g/n, 16” display (1366x768 pixels), ATI Mobility Radeon HD4650 Graphics, Altec Lansing built-in speakers).

- One HP Mini 110 laptop (Intel Atom 270, Windows XP Home Edition SP3, 1GB RAM, 10.1” display (1024x576 pixels), 160GB SATA HDD, HP webcam, WiFi 802.11b/g, 6 cell battery).

- A customized Timbuk2 bag

Syncables software for hassle-free synchronization! Easily sync emails, internet favorites and files between two PCs. Also sync to portable storage devices with HP QuickSync. Synchronize important data in a snap.



When the first round of netbooks arrived on the scene in late 2007/early 2008, they were a breed apart. They featured small cases, tiny screens, a minimalist approach to hardware and, above all, small price tags that were easy to swallow. And they became very popular -- so much so that netbooks accounted for one in five notebooks sold in the first half of 2009, according to John Jacobs, director of notebook market research at DisplaySearch.

But now, the newest models are outgrowing the original netbook concept, he says. "The latest netbooks stretch the definition, with bigger cases and larger screens," Jacobs explains. For example, the original Asus Eee PC 701 that started the netbook craze in 2007 came with a 7-in. screen, weighed a little over 2 lb. and sold for $400.

Today, most netbooks fall under Microsoft's definition of what a netbook is (and what therefore qualifies for its Windows 7 Starter build). They have screens that are 10.2 in. or smaller, 1GB of memory or less, and 250GB of hard drive storage.

However, there are now devices out there that claim to fall under the netbook umbrella but boast 11-, 12- and even 13-in. screens, weigh upwards of 4 lb. and cost as much as $900.

To see how this evolving genre fits into the mobile landscape, I examined four of the latest and biggest netbooks: the Acer Aspire One 751h, the Lenovo IdeaPad S12, the MSI X340 and the Samsung NC20. The devices in this quartet weigh between 2.8 and 3.4 lb. and cost between $380 and $900; their screen sizes range from 11.6 to 13.3 in.

I've given each a thorough going-over that includes testing their performance potential, battery life and ability to perform typical mobile tasks. I also took each on an overnight road trip where I used it to stay on top of e-mail, write, play online videos, tune in Internet radio stations and give PowerPoint shows.

The larger size does have its advantages. These full-figured netbooks don't feel as cramped as their predecessors. Some have impressive battery life, surprisingly comfortable keyboards and advanced touch pads, while others have specialty connections for accessories.


Always Innovating TouchBook user interface revealed

The Always Innovating Touch Book is a unique little device that blurs the line between a netbook and a tablet-style UMPC. For $299 you get a low power, touchscreen computer with a custom Linux user interface. Another $100 gives you a base station with a built in keyboard that transforms the whole thing into a mini-laptop with an 8.9 inch touchscreen display.

Always Innovating recently posted the first screenshots of the computer’s Linux interface. The company still describes the software as beta, which mean it may still be rough around the edges, even though the TouchBook is already shipping. For the most part, the operating system looks like a typical Linux OS using the GNOME desktop environment. It comes with an array of light weight applications including the Gnumeric spreadsheet app and an MPlayer frontend for playing video files.


August 18, 2009

MTV Games and Harmonix Reveal All But One Track Featured In The Beatles™: Rock Bandbeatles rockband

19 More of the 45 On-Disc Tracks Announced Including “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Helter Skelter,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Ticket to Ride” and More

MTV Games and Harmonix, the world’s leading developer of music-based games and a part of Viacom’s MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), today revealed 19 more of the 45 on-disc tracks that will be featured in The Beatles™: Rock Band™ - leaving all, but one song a mystery.  A gameplay trailer featuring ten of the 19 newly announced songs can be viewed by visiting www.thebeatlesrockband.com.


Who wins: Sliced bread or Windows 7? Windows 7

Take my word for it. Without the need to re-write what half the blogosphere has already written, Windows 7 is damn good and a far cry from what “legacy” Windows operating systems were. I would personally recommend it to anybody - professionally or personally - simply after using it and experiencing the high performance, the responses it gives me, the application compatibility and the general cleanliness of the user experience.


Xplore Receives Contract from Major US Industrial Services Supplier PSC

Xplore Technologies Corp. a leader in the design and development of rugged tablet computers, today announced a new contract with PSC, a national industrial services company for a roll-out of its iX104C4 tablet PC. More than 750 units are expected to ship during the roll-out, with 300 units delivered to date. The roll-out is scheduled to be complete by calendar Q2 2010.Xplore iX104C4 Tablet PC

PSC has operations throughout the United States and provides industrial cleaning, environmental, transportation, container and emergency response services to all major industry sectors. The company has been using the Xplore units to deliver electronic job standardization by service line, improved job tracking and job function baselines. Additional modules with be added in Q4 2009 including real time data management, web based reporting, and live asset management.

"Xplore's tablet PCs have a unique track record of providing cost-effective, solutions to the industrial, environmental and transportation market sectors that PSC serves," said Mark Holleran, President of Xplore Technologies. "As companies seek ways to enhance their shareholder value, technological optimization is key. Xplore, as a leader in rugged tablet PC solutions, is very proud to be a part of this vital effort." The iX104C4 design implements best in class sunlight readable display technology, Dual Mode flexible user interface, redesigned antennae, new integrated wireless modules, Windows(R) XP Tablet PC Edition/ Vista(R) Business compatibility and improved overall performance.


August 19, 2009

Barron's Blogs

On September 9, Viacom will launch The Beatles: The Rock Band, a new version of the popular Beatles Drumvideo game featuring the Fab Four.

Also on September 9, EMI will released remastered versions of the entire Beatles music catalog.

And you know what else happens September 9? Apple is expected to hold a press event to announce, well, whatever - new iPods, updates to iTunes, maybe even a tablet PC.

So, here you can see how rumors start.

As MacRumors.com notes today, the fact that Apple is going to host a music-related event on a big day for Beatles fans has triggered speculation that September 9 might also be the day that the band’s music finally shows up on iTunes. Back in March, when EMI announced plans for a Beatles version of Rock Band, EMI and Apple Corps (which controls the rights to the bank’s music) noted that discussions on digital distribution were ongoing.

“While no further indication from EMI, Apple Corps, or others close to The Beatles or Apple have suggested that an iTunes deal is imminent, the timing of these events has unavoidably resulted in new speculation regarding an agreement,” MacRumors writes.



My workhorse machine is an HP 2710P tablet. It goes pretty much everywhere I go, and so it was the first machine (aside from my test PC) that I set up as a clean Windows 7 install, using the RTM build from MSDN.HP 2710 Tablet PC

First, the good news: As with nearly every machine we’ve taken to Windows 7 virtually everything works straight out of the box. There are Windows 7 graphics drivers for the Intel card ready and waiting, as well as drivers for most of the machine’s hardware, even drivers for the fingerprint reader and the SD card slot.

But there is some not so good news: Some of HP’s built-in tweaks and speciality hardware aren’t supported yet, and there’s some question over whether they will ever get Windows 7 drivers. That’s always a risk when hardware pre-dates an OS. It’s certainly a little annoying when the screen won’t autorotate, and the slider volume control on the keyboard won’t work - but there are workarounds using OS features such as Windows 7’s Mobility Center (call it up with Windows-X) which gives you rotation and volume controls.

Not to worry though, as as Windows 7 builds on Windows Vista, you can get all those functions back using the latest versions of the Vista drivers from the HP web site.


Ars Technica

Ever since I discovered a widescreen mod that lets me play classic computer role-playing games at modern screen resolutions, I've been on a mission to find the perfect portable platform on which to replay the great isometric RPGs of yore. I have found that platform, and it is +10 awesome.

Great art stands the test of time, and demands of us a commitment commensurate with its greatness... or, at least that's the kind of thing I only half-ironically told myself as I pulled the trigger on the purchase of an obsolete, slightly brickish, $1,300tablet PC, which I bought to turn into a portable console for classic computer RPGs. I'm a sucker for old-school isometric RPG titles— Temple of Elemental Evil, Icewind Dale 1 & 2, Planescape:Torment, Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, Fallout 1 & 2—because they're true classics in every sense of the word, and when I began actively collecting used copies of them a little over a year ago, I wanted to make sure that I enjoyed them in style. After some long searching, I found that Samsung's overpriced "Origami"tablet PC is as close to the perfect platform for retro-RPGing as any I could imagine.

I had long been interested in the idea of playing these games on a touchscreen tablet, because the point-and-click interfaces seem well-suited to this type of interaction. These RPGs are largely mouse-driven and offer fairly large click targets—character models, corpses, furniture, locations—that are easy to tap with stylus or a finger. This being the case, I had toyed with the idea of getting one of the new or upcoming Windows XP netbooks with a touchscreen, but I was concerned about performance issues—Atom isn't the speediest platform out there.

I also considered something like a Thinkpad, which is a regular laptop that converts into a tablet. The main drawback there is that, when the laptop is in tablet mode, the entire keyboard is hidden, so you can't access hotkeys for spells and other actions.

Then I found the Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium, and it was as if the RPG gods had created the tablet specifically so that I could reach retro RPG nirvana (or maybe Valhalla, or some outer plane whose name escapes me at the moment).



A recent survey of 300 students heading back to school revealed that students are leaning towards low-cost netbooks over Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) MacBook, according to an AppleInsider report that cites research from Retrevo. 17% said they would buy a MacBook, 34% said they would buy a "small lightweight netbook" and 49% said they would go for a PC with a Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows setup. However, Apple's upcoming tablet computer is expected to be a big hit, and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Muster speculates that it could bring in an additional $1.2 billion, and will cut into the growing netbook share.


Gotta Be Mobile

if you Tweet on Twitter, here’s a chance to wave the Tablet PC flag and let the world know you arI'm a Tablet PCe indeed a Tableteer. Twibbon is a service that will take your Twitter profile icon and place a small badge in the lower left corner telling the world that you’re a Tablet PC fan. Craig Pringle pointed this out last night, and of course I jumped on it right away.

The Twibbon “I’m a Tablet PC” Badge was created by aussienick.


August 20, 2009

Windows 7: The OS that launches a thousand touch-screen PCs?

Apple Inc. may still be coy about whether it plans to launch a touch-screen tablet computer this year, but Windows PC makers are forging right ahead.

In the last three weeks, five leading PC makers have announced or been reported to confirm plans to release touch-screen PCs running Windows 7,

which will provide built-in multitouch features, as well as enable touch applications written for it.

These five companies would join the two largest PC makers in the world, which began rolling out touch PCs before Windows 7: Dell Inc., which sells the touch-screen-enabled Studio One all-in-one consumer desktop, and Hewlett-Packard Co., which has led the way with touch-screen PCs since it introduced its first TouchSmart computer in January 2007.e

The latest entrants include:

Lenovo Group Ltd., which said earlier this month it plans to release a touch-enabled version of its new all-in-one PC, the IdeaCentre C100, after Windows 7 ships. In a spring interview, a Lenovo analyst said touch R&D has been a "huge area of focus" for the PC vendor.


Blazepoint Launches New Atom Tactical Tablet PC
PR Urgent

Blazepoint, leaders in rugged technology and engineering, have launched a new Tactical Tablet PC for military and commercial applications. The new range of the ndura RUGGED® Tactical Tablet PC’s incorporate the Intel® Atom™ processor.

The introduction of the Intel® Atom™ processor into the new Tactical Tablet PC has enabled Blazepoint to develop an easy-to-use mobile device with expandable interfaces and targeted performance, with the added benefit of low power consumption. The ultra rugged and ergonomic design of the tactical tablet provides the optimal balance between performance, mobility and protection. Provision has been made within the Tablet’s design to allow for installation on existing mounting systems


August 21, 2009

PC World

A majority of college-bound students gearing up for school will not consider buying a Mac laptop, a study reveals. Instead, students are gravitating toward affordable netbooks from a variety of manufacturers, according to Retrevo, a consumer electronics website, that conducted the study.

Retrevo says Macs are at the bottom of student wish lists this year. While 49 percent of students will buy full-sized Windows laptops, 34 percent will purchase netbooks. Bringing up the rear is Mac with only 17 percent of students saying they intend to buy one, the study shows.

The most affordable new Apple laptop I could find sells for $949 (white MacBook). Compare that to the 18 percent of survey participants who say they won't spend a dime over $1000 for a laptop and Apple doesn't look to be the big man on campus this year. A majority of penny-pinching students, 58 percent of them, said they plan on spending less than $750 on their back-to-school laptop.

Apple has been targeting the education market this year with a special promotion offering a free iPod Touch with every MacBook sold. Judging from Retrevo's study the lure is not that effective. Apple's promotion ends on September 8.

Cheap netbooks, some even under $200, may just be good enough for students tight on cash and already saddled with credit card and tuition debt. With long battery life, a variety of designs, these affordable mini-laptops give students more for their tight budgets.


CNET News 

Is it time to drop the Netbook label? CNET News reporter Erica Ogg thinks so, and she joins the podcast to talk about why. That, and other headlines of the day, on Thursday's CNET News Daily Podcast.


August 24, 2009

PC World

Nokia announced it is moving beyond its mobile roots and boldly entering the PC market with its netbook offering dubbed the Booklet 3G. Nokia Netbook

The rumors surrounding Nokia's entry into the netbook market have been circulating for several months now, and today the company made a splash by finally revealing its first computing product, an attractive yet small app-friendly device which blurs the lines between Ultra Mobile PC's and netbooks.

The Windows powered aluminum device boasts a competitive 12 hours of battery life and also packs in WiFi connectivity, an HDMI port and integrated 3G and GPS, all in a neat well crafted 10" package. The only thing that the company has chosen to keep quiet about spec wise was what version of Windows the device would use.

Nokia could tackle the increasingly popular netbook market by taking advantage of its history as a communications company. Whereas many manufacturers simply take the basic PC experience and make it portable, Nokia could attempt to integrate cell phone and laptop usage habits into one integrated device, thereby enhancing the user experience while on the move.


Chip Chick

he DUO is the perfect gadget for those who want a Tablet PC, but don’t really want to pay for it. duo pen You can write or draw directly on the screen marking up documents or webpages on your desktop. Combining ultrasonic waves and infrared rays, the Duo instantly turns an ordinary laptop into a tablet.  It easily installs via USB and its included software will take your computer to new heights. You can draw shapes, and you can use the included pen to write on paper and have the image appear on the DUO’s NoteTaker Software.  Compatible with monitors, 17″ laptops, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 Tablet software. Lastly  it recognizes multiple languages.  The DUO retails for $119.95.


August 26, 2009

G-Cube Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Review

The G-Cube comes with two pairs of rechargeable Ni-MH AA batteries, a USB battery charger, and the actual keyboard and mouse.    G-Cube Wireless Keyboard and Mouse

let’s look at the other features of this keyboard. It does have some shortcut keys across the top that provide quick access to common web browsing features – back and forward, refresh, home, search, and email. There’s also a power button.

I do like that the keyboard’s key labels use a cutesy handwriting-style font. It adds some flair to the board, which I can certainly appreciate. On the other hand, the layout is so-so. In order to keep the board compact, the right shift key was moved to the left of the up arrow. While this is a better design than putting that shift key to the right of the up arrow, it’s still an annoyance. I prefer a standard layout on my keyboards – I think it would have been better to make the arrow keys smaller so that the shift key could be in the standard position on the board.


August 27, 2009

A Tale of Three e-Book Readers

read e-books on many different gadgets, from phones to UMPCs, and folks often ask me what ebook readersgadget I prefer for reading. That is another one of those questions for which there is no easy answer, as there are many factors that enter into the equation. The size of the gadget is the most important, as it usually determines what particular one I am likely to have with me when an opportunity to read presents itself. The size also determines the quality of the reading experience, as screen size equates to page size in the e-book world.

Dedicated e-book reading gadgets can vary in screen size from 5 inches all the way to around 10 inches. The bigger the page, the more text, and it comes down to a trade-off for portability. I am fortunate that I have so many gadgets laying around Mobile Tech Manor, as it means I can try different scenarios. This experimentation has seen me settle currently on three different devices for reading e-books, depending on where I am and what I can carry with me. The three gadgets are the iPhone 3G, Viliv S5 UMPC and the Viliv X70 UMPC — the X70 is an evaulation model sent from Viliv.


WIPTE 2009

If you are interested in the use of Tablet PCs or other types of pen-based technology to support teaching and learning in varied disciplines, please visit www.wipte.org to learn more about WIPTE (the Workshop on the Impact of Pen-based Technology on Education). 

WIPTE 2009 will be held October 12-13, 2009 at Virginia Tech.  The workshop covers multiple subject areas and is intended to identify and share best practices related to the use of Tablet PCs and pen-based computing in both K-12 and higher education.  Each WIPTE paper presentation includes an assessment component as an important part of the presentation. The WIPTE program also includes keynote talks, poster presentations, hands-on sessions and vendor booths.  Corporate sponsors will be providing giveaways including two HP 2730p Tablets, an HP iPaq 910 Business Messenger cell phone and more.

Additional information including the workshop schedule, travel information and links to an online registration form are available at www.wipte.org .  An early registration fee of $50 is in effect through September 14 th . After that date the fee increases to $100.


August 28, 2009

Rise of the high-def Netbooks

One new area where Netbooks have been able to offer a clear reason for stepping up to a more expensive system is with a high-definition display. The typical 10-inchNetbook screen is 1,024x600--which is readable, but often cramped for scrolling long Web pages or working on office docs. Sony Netbook

A recent trend in Netbooks, available in both 10.1- and 11.6-inch screens, bumps the resolution up to 1,366x768. The difference is clear when trying to read an online article without excessive scrolling, or doing a lot of cutting and pasting on a Word doc or spreadsheet. It also works well for 720p HD video content--although your mileage may vary, depending on the source, compression, and media player app.Netbook hardware can't always handle the strain of smooth HD video.

We've had five Netbooks with 1,366x768 screens cross our Lab bench recently. The Sony Vaio W and Dell Mini 10 (the latter is also available with a standard 10x6 screen) are both 10-inch models, and each cost around $500--a healthy premium over non-HD Netbooks.

Asus' Eee PC 1101HA and Acer's Aspire One 751h were less expensive 11-inch Netbooks, but both used the z520 version of Intel's Atom CPU, which led to annoyingly slow performance (the Asus did offer some onboard overclocking for its wimpy processor, but that's a Band-Aid approach).

We found the most satisfying HD Netbook experience in an unexpected place. Gateway's 11-inch LT 3103u cost only $379, and used an AMD L110 CPU, which gave us a smoother overall experience (albeit at the expense of battery life), along with 2GB of RAM and a larger 250GB hard drive.



Back in late May, I wrote about Windows 7 as it entered its final testing on the way to becoming a final product. Now that Windows 7 has been officially released by Microsoft, I thought I would write an update to try to help you decide if Windows 7 is a smart upgrade for your computers.

I'm still fairly bullish on Windows 7. The performance enhancements are significant. I use a tablet PC, a notebook computer that can double as an electronic notebook, if you will. Because of this special functionality, tablets have unique hardware and often require lots of special software drivers that may impact performance. Windows 7 installed on mytablet PC in about 30 minutes, lightning fast by current standards. This speed boost permeates the new operating system. Whether its startup time, shutdown time or the time to load an application like a word processor, Windows 7 is just plain fast.


Product Reviews

According to a report on TheWallStreetJournal it seems that Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is now concentrating primarily on the new Apple tablet device, this follows Steve’s liver transplant and the news that he would come back on a cut down schedule.

According to sources it seems that Steve coming back has already impacted the work force who apparently had gotten used to more freedom regarding their tasks, however now he is back “People have had to readjust”, exactly what this means is open to interpretation.


August 31, 2009


If two slides leaked to the Eeeuser.com forum are to be believed, ASUS has some pretty interesting -- though not terrifically surprising -- netbooks on the horizon. The slides, which are apparently the company's roadmap for US products for the next two quarters, are chock full of refreshed product information. It looks like we're going to be seeing a brand new Eee PC, the 12-inch 1201N, which will bring NVIDIA's Ion platform to the line for the first time, with an Atom N270 CPU, 2GB RAM, a 250GB HDD, Bluetooth and 802.11n WiFi, running $499 for release in mid-October.

asus roadmap

Other than that, we can expect to see the 1005HA-P with the N280 processor and a 250GB HDD option running Windows 7 also arriving in October for $399, and the 1005HA-M with the N270 processor, a 250GB hard drive, and Windows 7 Starter Edition for $349. Finally, Netbook News is also reporting some new 1008HA models not listed on the slides, as well as a multitouch, Windows 7-running T91 convertible tablet with a 32GB SSD priced at $549. There's no timeline mentioned for this one, but we'll keep our ears to the ground expectantly. The other slide is after the break; hit the read link if you want the full details on each model.


Apple Gets ready to Rock .....Apple Invite 9-9-09

Invitations went out Monday. The music-themed event in San Francisco will be held at 10 a.m. at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, which is next door to Moscone Center, where Apple's much-larger Worldwide Developers Conference takes place every June.

Speculation is that Apple will make an announcement regarding a Beatles catalog coming to iTunes. September 9 is also the day The Beatles' remastered digital albums and the highly anticipated anticipated The Beatles Rock Band Edition is being released.

Time will tell if Apple will be unvei their long anticipated tablet PC that day as well....



American Industrial Systems is offering a 10.4-inch Tablet PC with an Intel Atom processor for under $1,500. Running Microsoft Windows, the AIS Rugged Tablet PC is geared toward a variety of vertical markets, including healthcare, military and oil and gas.

American Industrial Systems, a designer and manufacturer of rugged solutions for vertical markets, grew its hardware offerings on Aug. 31 with the addition of a 10.4-inch Rugged Tablet PC featuring a 10.4-inch industrial LCD screen and a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor and an Intel 945 GSE chipset.  AIS Rugged Tablet PC

The Rugged Tablet PC, which AIS officially announced Aug. 31, has the look of a small, thin briefcase, with its handle and protective edging on its rounded corners. It has a fanless design and is said to be optimized for maximum thermal dissipation. It’s useable in temperatures from 4 to 140 degrees F., has a sunlight readable screen, and meets military specifications 810F and IP54 for shock and vibration, drops to three feet and exposure to water and dust.

This AIS tablet PC also has medical equipment certifications for being electronically compatible with use in medical fields.

In health care scenarios, the Rugged Tablet PC can be used with a shoulder-carrying belt that enables the tablet to lay flat in front of the user, like the offerings of concessions vendors or flapper-era cigarette girls. AIS is positioning the Rugged Tablet PC as a device flexible enough for numerous vertical markets, including field service, in which case it can be paired with an in-truck mount, as well as military applications, oil and gas industries, warehousing and machine control.











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Asking which model is the Best Tablet PC is like asking what flavor of ice cream is best:

everyone has their own opinion.

What is Tablet PC?

If you want the reliability and power of Windows XP, with the added benefit of pen and ink, the Tablet PC is the solution for you

The Tablet PC

The Tablet PC is a fully functioning mobile computer that runs Windows XP, Tablet PC Edition which includes new, advanced handwriting and speech recognition capabilities that enable the creation, storage, and transmission of handwritten notes and voice input. Tablet PCs come in three styles, Convertible, Slate and Hybrid.