PCs

Do you really want a slate or tablet PC? Really?

Call it a slate or call it a tablet, but whatever you do don't price it as if it were a notebook. Do we really want a slate PC?

TechRepublic Editor in Chief, Jason Hiner, is at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show absorbing all the buzz around the latest, greatest gadgets. While most of the gadgets being announced don't specifically apply to Windows, Microsoft did have a press event in which they announced a series of what they call "slate PCs."

Now a slate PC is basically the tablet form factor we have been ignoring, for the most part, for the past few years. However, there is increased interest in this form factor now that we have witnessed the success of the Kindle and other readers and are anxiously awaiting Apple's announcement of its entrance into this space. It could be that the slate/tablet is coming into its own as a viable form factor.

But I remain skeptical. I think the new slate PCs Steve Ballmer is touting in the video look great, but I question where the market lies for these devices, especially if they are priced at notebook levels. An inexpensive device that I can keep on my coffee table with a few books loaded in it and with which I can do a quick Google search is one thing. An expensive notebook PC with no keyboard is another.

What do you think? Are you interested in the slate/tablet PC? Why or why not? What would you use it for?

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

76 comments
tech-chick
tech-chick

I have had a tablet notebook since late 2005 and almost never use the tablet functionality. Although the handwriting recognition is pretty good, I find it cumbersome to use without the keyboard. The only time I ever use the tablet function is to play around with drawing and painting in ArtRage. I wish I had instead spent the extra dollars for a wider screen and full keyboard instead of for the tablet capability. I am beginning to think I am just old fashioned. I finally joined the throngs of IPod owners, but my IPod Touch hasn't become the "must have" item in my every day life that many of my friends predicted it would be. My husband offered to buy me a Kindle for Christmas, but I declined. I still enjoy going to the library and reading from the printed page. Thus far the Kindle hasn't offered me a compelling reason for me to change. I guess I am a dinosaur!! :)

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

I want the Caprica device or a Lenovo :)

Tig2
Tig2

I have a Linux and a Windows net book that convinced me that my home computing platform needed to be a desktop instead of a laptop. The primary driver here is ease of portability and weight. The lion's share of what I do with a computer away from my desktop is centered around Internet, email and a couple of resident applications. Most traveler's rests have wireless available and it was way easy to pull out my Asus netbook and check routes and highway reports, for instance. I can keep a small device in a tote bag (in a hardshell case) and have it available anywhere. I have a Touch also and use it. The problem with making it my portable platform is that I have lousy vision and the small screen is difficult when using Google Maps, for instance. It was wonderful for watching the Mythbuster episodes I downloaded though- beautiful resolution. I had been spending a considerable amount of time every month at a location that had wireless available. Having an ultra portable device was a great solution for that. I could keep on top of a forum I moderate quite easily even though I was away from my base. In going to a desktop machine for home use, I have the powerful level of computing I want at my fingertips along with a 21 inch screen with dynamite resolution. I can easily see what I am doing and have significantly fewer headaches. That is a REAL bonus! I think that the ultra portable form factor DOES have an audience. I would be a part of that audience.

benwal91
benwal91

I don't know what I will use it for mainly... But I will use it just for anything. Take notes in meetings, watch movies, list is endless.

swilsonw
swilsonw

Not sure about work, The workplace computing paradigm is based primarily around desktops and laptops. Trying to integrate tablets into that is not going to be easy except for meetings. But personal use...Yeah! In the home, on the bus, in the washroom, in bed, in the family room, in the kitchen, n order of magnitude improvement over laptops. It's size and form require much less dedicated space than either the desktop/tower or the notebook. and space is at a premium in the home since there are fewer dedicated workspaces. Make sure they are rugged tho. I don't want to have to buy a new one every year. Plus, make the user profile is independent of the tablet. That way if you lose it or replace it then, when you log on, the profile is downloaded from the web and you are ready to go. They must be cheap!

TuneUp Utilities
TuneUp Utilities

The portability and powerfulness of these tablet PCs is a great combination. I see them being popular for recreational use, multi-media, and travel, but probably not for real heavy or work related use for some time. Besides the price, what shortcomings do you see with slate PCs?

carlsf
carlsf

To put it simply of no use. Another MS ploy to further their $$ take.

sharrison
sharrison

I would use one for quick reference and simple searching, and casual reading.

BobManGM
BobManGM

I have one by Fujitsu. I've had it for years. Good little unit.

Slvrknght
Slvrknght

I would even consider one would be if I could finally get all of the medical providers around the office to stop grabbing their tablets by the screen and torquing the swivel joint out of whack. Then they complain when they don't work. Sheesh!

dvermehren
dvermehren

Just to be able to browse a little bit and watch some videos online, perfect. For everything more "advanced" I have my macbook. But the price is the key, some sites suggest depending on screen type up to $1500 for Apple's version. If so, they will garner a lot of dust on the shelves.....

susanunger
susanunger

I only would use a tablet with no keyboard if it has handwriting- and voice-recognition capabilities. I curently use my Toshiba tablet (with a keyboard) for these functions.

leedguru
leedguru

I would use it for home automation for sure. The current cost of touchpanels is prohibitive. To have a lower cost touchscreen that I can use to control my environment AND some spontaneous surfing = home run! I would probably buy 2. One for each floor

dogknees
dogknees

With a 17" screen and lots of grunt. For drawing and painting, editing photos, writing music, all sorts of things that I do on other PCs. But, with no extras to drag around. For example, as a replacement for an artists sketch pad. As a mixer console for sound engineers and musicians,..... This is assuming some basic things like performance comparable to a high end desktop (particularly with 3d graphics), an interface that is as rich and deep as the mouse/kb combo, high resolution, and pressure sensitive multi-touch, lots of storage, bluetooth and wifi, full sound hardware, instant on,.... All the things I take for granted on new systems.

douche_alert
douche_alert

i think that mark kaeilin person is a complete douche and i would never purchase anything that he is selling or promoting point blank.

ke_gordon
ke_gordon

The problem is that it will probably be overpriced for what you get and loaded with DRM. I couldn't justify it for personal use if the price was greater than $150. Not much chance of that. :) For business use I have no use for it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

As a Windows desktop without a keyboard; yawn.. It's also a little big after mucking with the little versions since the Newton 2000 (currently N810, hoping for N900 next). While not compelled to own one as the above mentioned N900, I could see it as used for mobile computing. Put a dock, screen and keyboard on your desk for this thing. Use the touchscreen input when on the go, drop it into the matching dock/screen/keyboard at work and carry on. As other's have said, the software will make the real difference though. We'll have to see how/if a more tablet like interface develops around it. Also, does it come in a "no OS" version and does the BIOS boot from USB drive? Does the touchscreen support industry standards or will HP remain open minded enough to release drivers for platforms outside of the Windows family? (imagine how fast a custom UI could evolve out of those crazy OSS software hippies) So, while I have no compelling need for one now, it is something that could become very interesting as it evolves.

Brenton Keegan
Brenton Keegan

It's about about the software in my opinion. From my experience, tablet PCs were typically far too bulky and combined with their lack of power it made much more sense just to get a regular laptop. I think the key would be to develop software that really makes sense given the formfactor. I think software developers would have to target niche business needs. Any kind of position that require people to be moving and recording data wound seem like a good target.

jck
jck

The "Slate" seems kinds pointless. I mean, these have been around for a while although in somewhat larger versions. I was programming Windows NT apps for tablet PCs in the very late 90s. Besides, I am mostly skeptical about the direction they are taking with Microsoft calling them by their own venacular ("slate" instead of "tablet", "software as a service" instead of "hosted applications", etc etc). TBTH from a business perspective, I can't see much of a market for them. Motorola and others already have point-driven devices that also give qwerty-style input as well. They might not be as "sleek" looking, but they are great for what are considered "mobile users" compared to these shiny new toys being pushed. I am just gonna take a step back from "Kindle-style" platforms. I have no use for them. So, I'll keep sinking my bucks into...faster CPUs and video cards lol :^0

CG IT
CG IT

a tablet is a good idea rather than a laptop. The medical field is on area where tablets will be big. another is inventory control. the 7-11 chain uses tablets for inventory tasks. The however is the computing power of the tablet. If it's just a dumb device, the cost might not be worth the benefit when a laptop that has the computing power costs about the same thing.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Color me skeptical of the whole slate/tablet idea, but I am willing to be persuaded. Give us you best argument for or aganist this form factor.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

type on the tablet machine - touchscreen keyboard, yuk? Or will you carry a keyboard, making it just a laptop in essence. Edit: Forgot to add handwriting recognition, seems a slow input method.

technisol
technisol

How about they(OEMs) wise up and produce a scalable/expandable product? Build a core processing unit(or offer several units of varying Horsepower), couple it with multiple combos of Digitizer/LCD/Graphics Engine in various dimensions with multiple power options and you have a core processor/solid state storage device that can be swapped in and out with larger and smaller screens from a phone size 4" LCD, to a medium sized web browser/PDA 7-9" LCD, to a full scale 17" or larger docking unit -in it's role as a desktop PC I could live without the larger display having a digitizer, and maybe allowing me a keyboard and trackball. I'd like a unit that could be a phone/PDA size for when that's all I need and scale up as needed to couple with larger displays with appropriate GPU, more I/O options, etc. The idea of having my core data with me in whatever form, without having to update/sync multiple devices would be pretty handy as would the comms hardware that would allow for the basic wireless/phone functions. The same unit could easily plug into a car, airplane seatback, etc. On the other end of things, if online storage could be tolerated for most data, or a base station employed, the SS drive could be no larger than an SD card or similar and further lower costs.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

that then turns into a full tablet. My bad.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

We already have that device. It's called a netbook, and the price is going to be closer to right than a tablet's.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

On the troll effectiveness scale this is a zero = complete failure. Misspelled Troll in title ;)

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

for tagging your posy with a handy handle so I know what to avoid in future. Beter still, if you change it TR will have the monitors turned on and track your IP. Why....well I see you are in the US, prepare for a slander case as items posted like this can be deemed as such. - I would remoeve the text if I were you. Nudge, nudge....

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

and that qualifies you to pass judgment? As if anyone here would respect the opinion of someone with a troll's nickname. You're gone.

iamwwei
iamwwei

I think the most important for such device is what kind of service we can use it to provide because it is designed to be sort of mobile terminal.

craigjg
craigjg

I've seen a few applications designed for hospitals where this type of device may make sense, if the infrastructure is in place to support it. With the example I was shown, the doctors were using the tablet PC for filling out patient forms and it was immediately updated to a back office database. However, the building was so old that there were a lot of areas where the WiFi didn't work and the doctors were constantly logging back on to the server.

jevans4949
jevans4949

I experienced a waiter in a pavement cafe in Italy using a small device of this sort to take orders. It would also be useful for street-based opinion research surveys.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

I have done support in the healthcare for five years and they are already using these or a version of these for patient care. Many healthcare use either wall mounted kiosks or carts that the nurses and doctors wheel around with them.

juanm105
juanm105

perhaps Apple will do the unthinkable and heretofor never done by them - they will have a classic "lossleader." they will sell a tablet for less than it costs them just to get people onto the platform - sort of a Microsoft type tactic with the XBox - have they ever made any profits from that equipment?

juanm105
juanm105

on the new TV show Caprica (a prequel to Battlestar Galactica - pilot available as a free download from iTunes or watch on syfy,com), one of the main characters (a high school student) sends an e-mail to her mom. Her "computer" or "tablet" is a piece of paper that she unfolds from her backpack or pocket and then taps on it and a virtual screen appears - keyboard and then icons. She then types out a e-mail to her mom and sends it. Later doning special hologlasses, she uses the same device to entry a virtual world. I want that tablet ? Perhaps that is what Apple is introducing on Wednesday

rdupuy11
rdupuy11

Millions have a tablet pc already, it's called an iPhone. The market got prepped by calling it a Smartphone - and its not mere marketing, it is a phone - but, we all use it for running Applications. On a tiny screen. Now, the next step is, couldn't we run these apps on a larger screen, wouldn't it be nicer with a larger screen? To me its obvious, of course I want a larger screen. Some say, this has to be a 3rd device, for someone needing to supplement both their phone and their laptop - well in that case I can see the argument for failure. There is a only a small group of people that will demand a 3rd device. Again, definitions, but I consider a phone a device - and the headphones, just an accessory. a tablet can be a phone - because it simply needs a bluetooth headset as an accessory. If if its that headset where I actually receive and even dial calls - voice recog. The laptop - like many people stopped being carried around long ago, and still used - in my home, maybe going from kitchen table to coffee table - the laptop replaced the desktop - including in function. The tablet becomes the portable computer - replacing the ereader, replacing the 'dream' of how I'd use my laptop, and replacing the phone. The laptop remains - but as a desktop replacement. In the end I go from: Desktop Laptop Phone Ereader to Laptop Tablet PC

steeleblue_cactus
steeleblue_cactus

I bought my first HP because I wanted something light I could take to meetings. It was a TX 1000. I loved it because I was able to take the keyboard completely off. No Optical drive kept the weight really low. I then upgraded to the tx1100. Same specs but a faster processor. I still have the 1100 and I also now have the newer one with the twist keyboard. But I still like the older model's form factor with the slate capability best. My job as a systems/business analyst requires me to conduct user and dev meetings connected to software development. I take all the notes for these meetings and circulate them after each meeting. I also keep the documentation for the projects. I use OneNote for this. I attend from 2 - 4 meetings every day. Converting my handwriting to text via OneNote saves me at least 2 hours of retytping every day (I know because that's how much I spent on doing it before I starting using the tablet). And during these meetings you cannot just type the notes- there are drawings and designs to capture too. Couldn't do my job without one. Certainly makes the documentation much easier and more complete (even before I started using OneNote). Only thing I'm waiting for is another with a better form factor (ie-removable keyboard). If you have never used one and your job (or lifestyle) includes ANY need for drawing or handwriting then you should take one out for a spin. Well worth the money.

flounder_pdx
flounder_pdx

I once had a brother-in-law who was a split fee home appraiser. He would go out and do 3-4 appraisals a day. Get up at 4am the next morning, enter all the data on his desktop and start all over again. We got him an Acer tablet, loaded his appraisal software on it. He trained the voice recognition. As he went about his day, he then entered his data directly into the software and talked to the machine to enter the description of the property. Back in the car, he had a 120v converter, plugged it in, loaded the pics off the camera into it, and as he drove to the next appointment the machine recharged. This saved him at least 2 hours a day which allowed him to do another appraisal a day which was $1000/week OR he could have those hours back for 10 hours a week (this was his wifes choice). Based on the $1000/week the payback was only 2 weeks (yes, he was that busy). Having said all that, without the 'killer app' for one of these machines, they are fun play toys but that's all. (in my opinion!) Just my 2 cents! Ted

AnySupport
AnySupport

Ok, so... if one is of the apparent minority who IS interested in slate PC devices, WHERE do you find them? Is there any place to get one in hand to feel it out, or a website that lets you return one if you don't like it? I'm really very curious about them and so many people have opinions about them, I wonder if it's theoretical or if others are able to feel them out and that's why they've decided against them. I guess I'm mostly just amazed they haven't caught on more widely as larger PDA devices. Paper Planners are still have a strong, ongoing devoted fan base, and it seems a logical progression to have an electronic alternative. (I don't consider using a phone as a true alternative, due to the screen size and lack of detail over a large period like looking at a full week across two pages can give you.) Even if you've decided they aren't for you, if you can recommend a resource or vendor, please let me know!

Slayer_
Slayer_

I don't see what problem this solves that a netbook doesn't. If I ever wanted something like this, it would be for multimedia such as photo editing, drawing, movie creation, etc. Things that require a lot more power. Otherwise, I would just find a touch screen for my uber desktop machine. So still, no real advantage.

roystonlodge
roystonlodge

Ever since I got my first PalmPilot, I've wanted a good, small, light, inexpensive tablet for handling tasks where a Palm device is too small and a laptop is too bulky. Mostly these are tasks where I currently use paper. Jobs like filling out forms that will later be data-entered. With a wireless tablet I could skip a step. (I also want to use it for keeping track of my Dungeons & Dragons characters, but I digress.) But I don't want to spend too much money on a device for which I only have a narrow range of uses. It's not a laptop replacement. I've been trying to convert an old Fujitsu tablet to run Linux and replace the hard drive with a compact flash card. It's been remarkably difficult to get all the kinks worked out.

AnySupport
AnySupport

I have a Toshiba Tablet 2730p that I love because it allows me to humor my cyclical nature about typing vs. hand writing and still keeps my data together. Currently I'm in a typing phase, but I've found it very handy for note taking at meetings or brainstorming sessions. Despite that, it's still a full PC. Lots of software loaded, takes a while to start up. Lighter than other notebooks I've owned and smaller (11"), but carrying it requires a larger bag and feels more like a burden. I was working with an ADD coach for a few months and her big push for learning to build structure was to get a 8.5"x11" paper planner. I understand the reasoning, but she's not a techie, in that she never understood that a paper planner was one MORE thing to keep updated. I already have Outlook for planning _where_ I need to be and the popup reminders help me not forget to do other things. I haven't found it as useful for _what_ I need to be doing. I have my phone (HTC Mogul) that syncs to Outlook, but the screen is so small, you can't see a full week at a time with any sort of detail. I want a slate UMPC to use restrictively as an alternative to a large paper planner. I would want it to run Microsoft Outlook and my planning software (Achieve Planner by Effexis). A quick startup/shutdown, a decent-long battery life, lightweight enough for a purse, and cellular internet access is it. Stores (around me at least) just don't sell them and I have no access to viewing or handling one in person, so I keep looking around, but I don't know if/when I'll get one. $600-1000 with no real return policy is hard to justify without an first hand experience. But yes, I'd really love one.

techeducator
techeducator

I've been using a tablet as an educator for 4 years. My students love the tablet fx as it really bridges the gab between the paper world and the e-world. I successfully ran a paperless classroom using OneNote and Blackboard that would not have been possible without a tablet. The advantages of this are too innumerable to list here. On the down side, it required learning a whole new toolkit, but it was worth it. Yes, students used the keyboard 90+ % of the time, but it was the 10% of time in tablet mode that really made the investment in 1:1 worthwhile, allowed me to do innovative things, and that, in the absence of a tablet, might have driven them back to pencil and paper. The notion that these may plummet in price is frightfully exciting to me as an educator. Here's something to chew on. My 3 year old can already navigate around my computer in tablet mode, while she has yet to understand the mouse, let alone the touch pad. What does this say about her/our innate abilities?

stanberka
stanberka

I'm as skeptical about tablet/slate as most bloggers discussing this topic. Now, in 50 years, that may be different, more StarTrek style. But right now, I'd say there is not much space between small laptops, netbooks and smartphones.

wendygoerl
wendygoerl

The way the'yre promoting it, it looks like they're treating slates as big PDA's rather than small laptops (which is where I put tablets). If I'm going to read an ebook, I want at least a paperback-sized screen to look at, or I'll be scrolling like crazy. This is especially true of any kind of book that has illustrations or particular formatting to understand the relationships between parts of the page. What I'd really like to know more about is how good they are at taking notes. I'm often carrying around several blank books because I will often write a slightly different font if I'm not sure about the info I'm jotting down, or maybe need to doodle a relationship among this and that and that. Can't do that with a QWETRY board. It's the main reason most of my college notes never got digitized. I mean, do you have any idea how awkward it is trying to read "lim f(x^2 +(x-3)/x^5)/ f(x^2+(x-3)/x^5)+ delta f(x^2+(x-3)/x^5)as x approaches infinity"? That's a headache even with a desktop word processor!

Beltannon
Beltannon

I have been looking for a replacement to carrying around pads of paper for awhile. I attend a lot of meetings and seminars, most of which I need to type something up to report to other staff. I would like a solution that would eliminate the need to take notes and then retype them later.. In addition having a functional mobile checklist/note taking device would be handy when we are at remote offices.

Randy Hagan
Randy Hagan

I travel and do software training and demonstrations/presentations. I use both Mac and WinTel PCs with relatively high specs to do that work, and I would happily consider trading them for a tablet/slate PCs if it could meet these criteria: 1. It was roughly the same dimensions as my laptops (13 1/2" wide by 10 1/4" deep for my Dell; 14" wide by 9 1/2" deep for my MacBook Pro). 2. It has a good size tablet screen. If it's going to replace my legal pad, it's got to have a letter-sized screen to match. 3. It has a scratch-resistant glass or glass-like touchscreen that I can only "write" on with an inexpensive, easy to replace stylus. And since I'm left-handed and tend to drag my hand across the page when I'm writing, navigation buttons high and low and not on the sides of the tablet, where they'd be inadvertently selected whenever I jot something down onscreen. 4. It has a fold-over protective metal cover to further protect the screen from scratches, cracks and other damage. I'd also like a small pocket/snap-in receptacle for my stylus. And I'd prefer a sturdy lightweight metal chassis over cheap plastic for a tablet frame. 5. It has DVI and VGA connections, multiple USB ports, an Ethernet jack and external stereo audio jack. It'd be a bonus if it had some type of docking port, so I could hook up peripherals in the office and quickly release it for mobile travel. 6. It has processing and storage capabilities that match a standard-spec 64-bit laptop -- fast Core 2 Duo chip, 4 GB of RAM, 160 GB of storage. Bonus points for more RAM capacity. I'm currently running 6 GB on my Macs and 8 GB on my WinTel systems to take full advantage of 64-bit processing. 7. It has a current standard operating system -- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit or Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard. I want it to be able to run standard software applications and common peripheral drivers too, so I can plug in a keyboard/mouse, monitor and/or USB scanner to get input/output from the system like any other laptop or desktop PC. 8. As for its unique "tablet/slate" capabilities, I want it to be able to run iPhone and/or Android mobile apps. It has to be able to run more than one common ebook format. it doesn't have to be a phone, necessarily. But it does have to be able to run stand-alone phone apps and, when connectivity is necessary run on WiFi like any wireless PC application. As for price? I'd buy such a system for $1000-1200 to replace my laptops on either platform today. In real-world terms, It would cost around $700-$800 for a laptop to perform serious PC-quality duties. The costs of turning around the LCD display and engineering a sturdy one-piece tablet case with flip cover will be more than offset by eliminating the need for a built-in keyboard and CD/DVD drive. On the software side, charging $100-$150 for the ability to run mobile apps -- plus the incremental income from selling various individual apps -- would undoubtedly be profitable for whoever put together such a system. Sorry about the novella, but for me to replace my laptop with a tablet/slate PC, the replacement is going to have to be a real PC.

TNT
TNT

Tablets are used by the math teachers in my school and they are great for that, but I've never been attracted to them as the screen is too small, the device too bulky and the hardware to limited. That said, I sometimes wish I could remove the keyboard from my netbook and have a touchscreen interface instead. I use the Netbook in the car a lot and the clam-shell design isn't auto-friendly. If I could pick one up that was about the size, power and price of my netbook I'd probably bite.

victor.gutzler
victor.gutzler

Price is the key, with available software a close second. I am a part-time educator and have used a Toshiba tablet for the past five years. It amazes me that the state boards of education around the U.S. still maintain substantial inventories of textbooks, so if the cost of these slates comes down to about $100 (the cost of two textbooks), then there should be a huge business case for providing students with a slate instead of five to six textbooks every year. As a teacher, I use the tablet to write on electronic worksheets displayed in front of class using an overhead projector as I demonstrate and review the lesson with my students, but I have been frustrated with having to make paper copies of the worksheets that students would then write on and turn in for grading. I would rather have their work in an electronic format residing in the student's electronic folder connected to an electronic gradebook. And the administration of standardized tests would be much less expensive if the students used slates instead of the reams of exams submitted on paper. Software for teaching reading (electronic dictionaries and text-to-speech widgets) and handwriting would also make the educational use of slates a slam-dunk, not to mention the potential for interactive content for step-by-step tutorials and timely updates (no more having to buy a newer textbook edition - what a collegiate scam!). All in all, I am looking forward to the electronic revolution finally hitting the public classroom....

NexS
NexS

I reckon that, in a different occupation, these would be useful/handy/fun. In an IT world where we want performance and reliability and key usefulness, these wouldn't really cut the cheese. I mean seriously, what would IT professionals use them for? "Let me draw your new password, there you go *scribble scribble*" In most cases, typing is quicker than writing on a tablet, so browsing is out of the question. The only real purpose i can see for these is for artists who use it for linework..(maybe engineers who would use it for diagram editing also) I would use these pcs for art, as I have wanted a tablet for some time (found them quite expensive) and i really don't see these new 'slate PCs' any different from a tablet... only a tablet is peripheral and adds functionality rather than a slate pc which has no *other* functionality.. But that's just my opinion...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

since I have access to one but don't use it. But then, I don't want a laptop either. We have seven tablets in the building. Six were purchased for a particular application. Four are now loaners used as like any other laptop. Two are in active use; only one uses the tablet features and that's less than 10% of the time, according to the user. I could reallocate any of the loaners at my discretion, but I'm just not interested in one. The seventh? It's an 'egotism / vanity' unit, and leaves it's dock maybe twice a year. :-)

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

Why does Steve Ballmer think that the "Slate" PC will take off when we have had tablet PCs for a while and there has been little interest?

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

they want you to buy a new product for that.

dvermehren
dvermehren

Apple has no netbook per se, so that tablet might just be the answer. On the PC side, yes you will propably get more power and better price from a netbook

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

MS makes profits off the games it sells for the XBox, not the unit itself. It's possible Apple may be planning to make money via some form of application store. But iPhone users are accustomed to paying less than $10 for each app. They're also used to AT&T subsidizing part of the price. In order to make up the cost of the tablet, Apple would have to sell apps for significantly higher prices. An Xbox game costs somewhere in the vicinity of 1/6th of the unit. iSlate estimates run between $600 and $800; apps based on that model will run between $100 and $133. Will the market pay that?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

a lot of people are at: Desktop Phone I don't think laptops are as pervasive as some do, but maybe that's just me. If you're going to: Laptop Tablet why would you bother paying more for a laptop you're not going to carry around? If you're going to carry the tablet, why wouldn't you go: Desktop Tablet ?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Right now what you'd probably want to look at is the existing convertible tablets; notebooks with a swiveling screen and touch input. There is also a (or was a) fellow who you could send your Apple notebook too and he'd hack it together into a tablet screen only (don't have the link handy). In terms of the tablets being shown in the last few days, you'll need to zip down to Vegas for the CES (is it in vegas?) if it's still going on otherwise wait until the devices become available from HP and other companies. The Apple tablet is still only rumors but I'm sure it'll be on display in Apple stores as soon as it's announced officially. If you do go looking at tablets, I'd only recommend that you choose a touch sensitive one rather than one which requires the included stylus for input. Also, play with it in the store for a while to see how working with programs and recognizing writing works for you.

pmansbach
pmansbach

You're assuming the cost of textbooks goes away. But most of the cost - writing, editing, and "typesetting", for a relatively small market - remains. The cost of the final transfer to paper is not that great. I'd guess your $50 textbook would still cost at least $35 in e-book form. Only mass distribution can drive it down to $10.

dogknees
dogknees

You should be aware that tablets have much higher resolution and features like pressure sensitivity and tilt-sensitivity which you won't find on a slate. If you are into art, the cost is well worth it. Just think about using a spraycan tool. You can tilt the stylus and the shape of the patch that is painted expands, just like the real thing. Similarly, brush tools will act differently if you "push" them away from you or "drag" them toward you. Just like a real brush.

juanm105
juanm105

you don't want what you have ... you might want something else.

juanm105
juanm105

You and others can't make ANY arguments yet on the merits or lack thereof on any tablet computer that Apple MAY announce on Wednesday. First of all, if Apple has finally decided to get into this market that heretofore has been a non-starter (Bill Gates announced that tablets would be the next big thing - how many years ago? He had vision but was looking in the wrong direction), then an Apple Tablet will be a game changer. When an Apple Tablet is announced AND we know what features and bells and whistles it has then AND ONLY THEN can we begin to judge the Apple Tablet. What size is it? what OS does it have? does it have a subscription requirement ? are there apps for it? Can you use it to make a sandwich? Why do I want one? These can't be answered until we see the Apple product? Perhaps the Wednesday announcement has more to do with HD video/TV/Entertainment than a tablet. Maybe the Apple TV is finally going to be more than a "hobby" (as steve jobs has said) to Apple. Maybe that is the next big thing. Two days to go.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

and price is an object, do you want to pay the premium for an Apple-branded product? A non-Apple tablet is going to be expensive enough; adding that name isn't going to get any cheaper.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I can think of a few classes where a teacher that interested in educating would have been a big benefit. For widespread use though, I think topics would need a prepackaged lesson plan and materials. Outside of education sources, organizations like RRIA have already been producing prepackages lesson plans on there prefered interpretation of copyright. This at the expense of honest and critical thinking about copyright. Those in favor of true copyright have also had to produce lesson plan packages after having no one interested in producing there own lessons on it.

jrobison
jrobison

Textbook cost is just one issue. With a digital text, a teacher could choose the content they would actually use, rather than the set of materials chosen by the publisher. Teachers could supplement with on-line and interactive resources that are current, and so improve the materials available for their classes. Imagine your office being limited to information on the economic situation that was published 5 or 10 years ago. Then think about our science and social studies classes. The difference of $10 per student/class isn't the most important issue.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Those are two things everyone needs that shouldn't be skimped on.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Or an educrat? Or liberal? Maybe local school systems work better in Texas than in SC, but here the system is clearly broken beyond repair. Google "Corridor of Shame". There's no reason for one of our counties to have 7 school districts while the larger adjacent one had 3 and the next one over has 1. Multiple school districts are just money wasted on overhead. Would you settle for one state-wide district? Who would you rather have running the system, elected officials who know nothing about either education or administration, or an appointee who's got experience with both? I support paying taxes to support education, although I have no children and am beyond the age where I would. But I'm tired of seeing my money wasted on petty fiefdom districts and their multiple duplicated administrative costs.

don.howard
don.howard

Another unelected educrat bringing America's youth into lock-step on the liberal agenda of the day. In truth, preparing the state approved textbooks is not cost prohibitive, or the publishers would not do it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Reducing the number of approved textbooks to the point where mass distribution becomes more likely.

NexS
NexS

Yes, I had guessed as much. Personally, I would not purchase this 'slate pc' for any other reason other than the novelty :) happy buying folks :P

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

But a tablet isn't it. I have no need or desire for a portable computing device, or the cellular service bill to support it.