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Summary:

According to ActiveWin, Armin Cremerius-Gunther, Windows division head for Microsoft Germany, announced Tuesday that Microsoft intends to launch its own Tablet PC.  The article also states that Microsoft’s intention is to sell the Tablet PC for less than 1200 euros.  Microsoft realizes that the high costs […]

According to ActiveWin, Armin Cremerius-Gunther, Windows division head for Microsoft Germany, announced Tuesday that Microsoft intends to launch its own Tablet PC.  The article also states that Microsoft’s intention is to sell the Tablet PC for less than 1200 euros.  Microsoft realizes that the high costs of current Tablet PCs are a barrier to consumer adoption of the innovative platform which is pretty much the popular view too.  I’m not sure whether to believe this as it is so contrary to Microsoft’s philosophy of staying out of the retail computer segment.  They don’t even make a Microsoft branded Pocket PC so if this is indeed true I will be pleasantly surprised.  I will be very interested to have this confirmed by anyone at Microsoft who can comment.

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  1. According to xe.com (don’t know if that’s a legit currency converter or not, but it came up first in Google),
    1,200.00 EUR = 1,563.95 USD.
    Is that really a cheap tablet? Why are they so expensive? Surely Microsoft can find a way to help other vendors rather than bear the expense of trying to do it themselves.

    All I can think of for the price problem is that it’s gotta be either:
    1) The silent, no fan, operation
    2) Cost of licensing Win Mobile (MS can correct this!)
    3) Size requirements (I’d take one a little bigger)
    4) Touch screen hardware (but screens are smaller!)
    or
    5) Limited quantities that can be sold (you lose efficiencies of scale)

    I’d like to get a tablet myself when I find one comparable to a laptop in pricing and specs. I’d pay a small premium, but this seems like a big premium. Especially for a technology that isn’t very mature yet.

    Currently, I suspect it takes a “JK” to get very much out of one of these things! :)

  2. BobR, most Tablet PC are over $2,000 so this price would indeed be lower than most available today. The price differential likely comes in the miniaturization that goes into every Tablet. Most Tablets are full laptops in a package barely bigger and thicker than most LCD screens on your desktop. That comes at a price and when you couple that with the active digitizer in the screen it adds up. PDAs only have passive digitizers which are much cheaper to produce but not nearly as resolute as the Tablet PC. The active digitizer also means your inking can sense pressure so you can even draw on a Tablet as well as you can on paper.

    Microsoft is reportedly in discussion with two OEMs to actually produce the Tablet so it’s more of a control thing to brand one themselves. I think it is a very good thing as they can maybe capitalize on the strengths of the Tablet OS since they wrote it.

    The technology in the Tablet PC is very mature with the release of WinXP SP2 and the accuracy of the handwriting recognition is amazing. There is nothing more intuitive than working with a pen on a pad and that is exactly how Tablet PCs work. I find the creative process is greatly stimulated when inking- it’s hard to describe but I believe it’s because when we work with just one hand (as in inking) a larger portion of the brain is free and working. When we are typing on a keyboard both we must focus on working both hands and less brain power is free to create. That’s my theory anyway.

    I recommend you try to get your hands on a Tablet somewhere and just work with it for a brief time and you will see what I mean. Everyone I show a Tablet to has a light bulb appear over their head as soon as they start inking. If you want a great example of inking and the positive affect on the thought process look at Iggy’s blog. He’s devoted it entirely to the process of inking.

    http://www.iggysoft.com

  3. According to Robert Scoble of Microsoft this story is NOT TRUE. MS is NOT working on a Tablet PC.

    http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/2005/01/18.html#a9231

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