One of the surprises of the Tablet PC Get Together was that Microsoft handed out alpha versions of Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2004 (codenamed Lonestar) to everyone. On top of that Arin Goldberg (ISV Architect for the Tablet PC Platform Group) invited all those toting Tablet PCs to come up to his room and install the new software after the Get Together. Of course, we all had to jump at the chance.
Part of our enthusiasm for losing a couple hours sleep Sunday night in order to install Lonestar was that Microsoft was not placing any NDAs on it. That’s right, we could post anything we wanted about the install including descriptions and screenshots to our blogs. Well, there was one catch. Microsoft asked us to wait until 6AM to post. It was getting late, so there was only one thing to do: let the youngest among us have the pleasure of posting. 🙂 So while most of us left to go to bed, Peter stayed up I’m guessing all night long to capture a series of screenshots and write an excellent overview of Lonestar. Check it out. The new TIP and improvements in the handwriting recognition are phenomenal.
The best part of Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2004 is that it’s going to be a free upgrade for everyone and it’ll run on your existing hardware!
Lonestar is such a significant improvement that I hope Microsoft is going to have an “open” beta program like that with OneNote so that everyone that would like to try out and use the new software can. I bet most Tablet PCers will switch to it–even with a few bugs here and there.