Bill Gates has been touting his Tablet PC as the next big thing in personal computing for the last year, and despite the fact that the product won’t likely be available until next year at the earliest, the industry is getting behind Gates’ vision.
The Microsoft Corp. Chief Software Architect, in his keynote address at the annual Windows Hardware and Engineering conference, announced the support of a number of the industry’s big-hitters for the Tablet PC.
Microsoft’s Tablet PC, which is currently in development, is a slate-like computer, based on the Windows XP Professional OS, which allows for the feel and ease of pen and paper.
“The initial positive response of the industry to Microsoft’s Tablet PC initiative has exceeded our highest expectations,” said Alexandra Loeb, general manager of the Tablet PC at Microsoft. “We are optimistic that over the coming months, additional OEMs and hardware vendors will announce their support for the Tablet PC.”
Semi-conductor technology companies Intel and Tansmeta joined with Compaq, Sony, Toshiba and various others in their support for the Tablet, which Gates believes will be an even more important advance for PCs than notebook computers were.
“The incredible support from industry leaders for the Tablet PC will help us deliver a rich and extended computing experience,” Gates said. “This is a very broad initiative to create truly innovative and powerful Tablet PCs.”
In his address, Gates sited the Tablet PC as a major example of how the PC platform will continue to evolve and be even more useful for business computing.
“The Tablet PC makes PCs even more relevant to users,” he said. “It enables people to interact with their PC in a more natural and intuitive way through digital ink or voice input. And it helps them use their PC more effectively in everyday tasks like taking notes at meetings, working collaboratively and reading electronic documents.”
The Tablet PCs are expected to be available in 2002, with final pricing and availability to be determined by the individual system manufacturers.