Touch screens and tablets

Link: TabBlogger : Touching is Good (finale?).

It is being announced at PDC05 that OEMs will be allowed to ship Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 (aka Lonestar) on their touch-enabled tablets. Why is this significant? Because a lot of our user audience (and some potential users) have asked for touch input for a while now. Why has it taken til now to get this done? *shrug* I don’t know.

For those who don’t know much about Tablet PCs, at present all models must use "active" digitisers, which work only with special pens. The huge advantage of this is that you can rest your hands on the screen without a huge blotch of ink splurging all over it – which means it’s much more like writing on paper.
However, the problem with this is that these digitizers are expensive, and you need that special pen – lose it, and you better have a spare or you’re stuck with an expensive laptop.
And what this opens up is the smaller end of the market. Imagine a tiny machine, the size of an old Newton, but running a full-blown copy of Windows.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/paulpod/ paulpod

    Hmm, but surely when your hardware is that far from the ‘traditional’ PC, wouldn’t a custom OS be a much better bet?

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Custom OS’s require developer evangelism and support, which a “standard” OS doesn’t. So, the theory goes, you get better and faster new applications.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/paulpod/ paulpod

    Ok my mistake – I was a bit vague. What I really meant was a User Interface (and apps?) designed specifically for this kind of hardware, rather than a desktop UI.

    Witness Series 60 phones from Nokia (and others) and UIQ phones from Sony-Ericcson (and others)… Same OS (Symbian) different overlayed UI that lets the hardware shine. Series 60 uses keypads, UIQ has a touchscreen and stylus.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Ahh, yeah, I get you – and you’re almost certainly right! I don’t know enough about compatibility between Symbian devices though – can they all run the same software, un-tweaked?

  • http://profile.typekey.com/paulpod/ paulpod

    Short answer, no – but code is usually 80% common, porting is usually a minor job, etc. Anyway, different platform entirely. My point was, I’m surprised MS haven’t taken the opportunity to take their Tablet Windows in new directions instead of keeping it so closely tied to a desktop OS/UI.

    I wonder if there is a tablet linux around?