Jenn gives me the finger, I mean, the thumb!


Peperpad3_boardOh, I just couldn’t help that title! Jenn has definitely one-upped my "Thumb-boards: is there really a need on UMPCs?" post with an awesome, ten reason rebuttal post. This is why I love the blogosphere: you get solid, rational discussion on key topics. Jenn: thumbs-up from me on a great post!

I think the difference is my point of view with so many others is highlighted in her very first point when she says, "The UMPC’s target audience is not the Tablet PC enthusiast." After watching the UMPC market slowly evolve, I’d begrudgingly say she’s probably correct. However, I’d like to believe that the Tablet PC platform isn’t just for enthusiasts. Yes, it’s currently a niche platform and that’s a tragic shame in my opinion. My hope was that the UMPC device class would expand the usage of the Tablet functionality, which explains why I personally don’t want a thumb-board on my device. In any case: BRAVO Jenn! :)



Your’s lack the “find” function? Mine’s in the corner (sound of pages furiously flipping).

Seriously Mike, how do you find inking on a passive screen UMPC compared to an active screen with stylus on a full blown tablet? I’m thinking of getting the P1610 (no thanks to JK here!) but am torn as to its inking performance.


I’ve been following the thread you started, Kevin, on the need for thumb boards, and I have to say, Jenn’s 10 reasons for a thumb board makes a lot of sense.

I’ve been monkeying around with PDAs, bigger PDAs, Windows CE devices, tablets, and now a BlackBerry. Of all them, the one I use the most on any regular basis is admittedly the BlackBerry. It’s simply much more convenient to start tapping out a reply – not a novel of course – rather than reaching for a stylus. The problem with using a stylus is that to use it comfortably, you need a larger writing surface. Then you get into your minimum UMPC size or greater, and then you start facing the tradeoff between portability and functionality.

That being said, the one thing I don’t care for much anymore is handwriting recognition. I usually just write and store my notes as is: it’s only if I need to interface directly with a program that the typing accuracy offerred by a keyboard comes in handy. Sure, I type faster (about 50 wpm on a regular keyboard) than I can write, but I take better notes and retain them better if I handwrite them! I can freely take comments, draw arrows, etc. Ever try to copy down a graph using a mouse? Not too easy.

At the end of the day, a stylus (or pen) means more FREEDOM, but not necessarily more practicality. I – and probably most people – think with pen in hand because as the stylus draws out or prints, it DIRECTLY translates my thoughts into something recordable. A keyboard represents an additional mechanical and interpretive step, and the results are not in “your” handwriting. A good example is editing documents. I’m a professor and the fastest and probably most concise way to edit documents is via “pen” to strike out, overwrite, and scribble comments on the side. “Track changes” is more efficient overall for the publishing cycle, but not as effective for immediate editing.

So, a device that incorporates both – hence the split keyboard or a convertible like the P1610 – is probably going to be the sweet spot machine for a while. The keyboard is functional, but the stylus is classic and elegant.

At the end of the day, all this electronic gadgetry might be moot. As my wife comments, I have a $2000 machine to do what a $0.99 pad of paper and a pen can already do!

Ricky Brent

I was cheering when I saw Jenn’s post — hurray for thumb boards! Actually, while I got a UX180P myself (I found jkontherun from pocketables a while back; can you tell?) it has made me think seriously about a tablet. I love reading e-books and feeds with the UX in portrait mode, but a little more screen real estate would be great.

Granted the tablets I keep looking at are all convertible types, but it’s a start, right?

Kevin C. Tofel

I hear you Mike. I take my device just about everywhere and not a day goes by when folks ask where I got my “oversized PSP”.

Mike Cane

Jenn is correct about the target audience. Unfortunately, they’re still priced to enthusiasts!

And you wouldn’t believe how many people, seeing me use the Q1 at the Samsung Experience, exclaimed, “What’s THAT?! Is that computer?!!?”


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