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Are Tablet PCs now an evolutionary dead end?

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I had always wanted a TabletPC. The idea of being able to write on the screen and use it as a "notebook" so to speak was really appealing when I was getting ready for college. I never was able to get one due to the costs though, given they were much weaker compared to traditional laptops and cost even more, it did not seem like a worthwhile investment. Fast forward 4 years. Not much has changed it seems. Checking out a few popular online retail stores, the average TabletPC price is still around 1200, give or take. The cheapest I normally see them is in the high 800 range and the difference between those and the ones that cost a few hundred more are well worth the additional costs. To make matters worse, Vista has been the preinstalled OS of choice, which has taken away from the already low resources present on them. I would suspect this to change a little when Windows 7 comes out, but thinking long term, is there any future to TabletPCs? Nowadays, it seems mobile phones are the new "laptops" for younger generations. They cost a lot less and offer comparative functionality when it comes to web browsing, web surfing, etc.. when compared to a netbook. Almost everyone (figuratively speaking, of course) has some cell phone that is capable of internet access and it seems with the spread of the 3G network, cell phones are becoming more practical for mobile. That is not to say that a mobile phone can replace the functionality of having a computer or a laptop though. There is still a lot of things that are most efficiently done on a computer, but in that regards, you do not need a TabletPC to accomplish those feats. There are new "netbooks" that are beginning to fill the gap between a high end mobile phone and a regular laptop. Of course, that is a different market than what TabletPCs are for, but I digress. The other alternative for digital input in comparison to the functionality a TabletPC provides would be digital pens and digital notebooks (not laptop notebooks, "paper" notebooks). I've not kept up on them, but I had bought one back in 2007 and I've still yet to use it [headshake] Anyways, what does everyone else think? Will TabletPCs ever be able to make a comeback? The only way I foresee something like that happening is if the price drops significantly, which doesn't look to happen anytime soon since the cost of production seems not to be changing for the better. With all of the alternatives that are available, it seems that the additional functionality provided with a TabletPC just might not be worth it nowadays.

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The day they become cheap enough or the day companies start giving them away for free if you subscribe to some service. That's how cellphones made their way to what they are now.

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I had a tablet PC once and never used the tablet functionality after a week of trying. I bought it mainly because I was travelling every week and I wanted something more compact to use on my flights.

Well, after a week of trying to use it, I just found that it slowed me down too much to be a useful tool. I'm not saying it wasn't very cool and the handwriting recognition was almost always bang on. It just wasn't as efficient as a mouse and keyboard to me.

I think Tablet PC's definately have potential in some industries, but I don't think they will ever be mainstream unless major changes are made to the software we use.

All of the software we use today (including Windows itself) is designed for keyboard/mouse use. Sure, tablet functionality has been added, but that doesn't make it a good design.

If vendors start coming up with a more intuitive design for user interface then Tablet PC's will start becoming more popular.

As far as phones go, the on-screen interface on those phones that have touch capabilities have been designed with a touch interface in mind. That's why they are so intuitive.

John

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Tablet PCs are niche products because handwriting technology just isn't good enough, and most people can type far faster than they can write. In addition, annotations made on documents really aren't very useful, so there's no reason to invest in technology to enable them.

That said, I want a lightweight, slate form factor tablet computer - think a netbook with a touch- and pen-sensitive screen. Couple that with the right software and I'd have a powerful mobile drawing studio. Outside of a few vertical industries, artists are the biggest single audience for tablet PCs.

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