There’s an interesting thread over at the Origami Project forums that has my wheels spinning. Ree, a new TabletKiosk eo i7210 owner wondered why the native floating TIP wasn’t working. Ree installed floattip.exe so all is happy in Tablet-land, but in the thread, two comments indicated that the TIP works just fine on Amtek 700-based UMPCs. I don’t doubt the comments that it works, but this situation has me wondering: why doesn’t it work on other touchscreen tablet devices that run the Tablet Edition of Windows XP?
My question isn’t a technical one; it’s a usability one. If someone buys a Tablet PC, they should get all of the functions of the Tablet PC Edition, no? It shouldn’t matter (from an end-user standpoint) if their Tablet PC has a touchscreen or an active digitizer: it should work the same. In fact, in the "Top 10 Benefits of the Tablet PC" page on Microsoft’s site, guess what number 6 is?
"The Tablet PC Input Panel (TIP) makes it quick and easy to convert your handwriting to text. TIP launches wherever you want to write, and dynamically recognizes characters so you can easily make corrections before inserting text. Tablet PC’s context awareness recognizes familiar formats, so it won’t change the @ sign of an email address to "a". "
I’d strongly encourage Microsoft to work with the OEMs on this to ensure that going forward you get to use the system in the way it was intended, regardless of whether you touch the screen or not. Installing a small, third-party app isn’t a long term solution if you want to get mainstream adoption of the latest technology.