I finally had some time over the weekend to catch up on some interesting blog posts that I had tagged for later reading and am I glad I did. Tablet PC MVP Tracy Hooten of The Student Tablet PC has been brainstorming about what she feels would be the perfect Tablet PC for her and let me tell you she is on to something here. Tracy’s concept Tablet is basically a hybrid Tablet PC like the HP tc1100 with an important twist (click image to enlarge):
One of the benefits the tc1100 provides is the detachable keyboard (or slate depending on how you look at it). The entire screen unit on the tc1100 contains the entire computer with the detachable keyboard as a thin and light keyboard for use as a laptop. As Tracy points out it is not a perfect laptop since it’s top-heavy and can’t be used in a lap for instance. Her concept Tablet PC however would address that in a very practical way. What she is proposing is a convertible Tablet PC where the display screen is a self-contained slate which can be plugged into a real laptop keyboard unit just like standard convertibles. This could be used as a slate by detaching the screen or as a laptop with a real keyboard. Since the keyboard base would need to have sufficient weight to keep the slate from making the laptop top-heavy Tracy proposes putting a long-life heavy battery into the keyboard unit that would not only solve the top-heavy problem but keep the slate (with its own internal battery) nice and charged for portable use.
This is such a great concept that I hope the people at Motion are paying attention and thinking about this. They are the premiere slate OEM and the obvious choice to actually try something like this. Keep in mind though, like Tracy has written there is no concern about keeping the entire laptop weight down since the slate can be detached and used as a light and thin Tablet PC any time the user wants. Check out Tracy’s article and the great comments that are being added to flesh out this great hybrid concept. The more I think of it the easier this can be done. All of the peripherals Tracy proposes for the keyboard unit, like an extra hard drive, could all be attached by simple USB. That would just leave a tap into the slate’s AC power for charging the battery. This is so simple I don’t know why no one has tried one of these before. Toshiba has been showing their detachable screen concept device for months but in that unit the screen is a dumb screen and not ideal by any means because the screen unit cannot be used without the base where the PC guts are located. Very nice work, Tracy!