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HardwareTablet PCMichael Parekh asks: "What did people talk about at CES?"

Michael Parekh asks: “What did people talk about at CES?”

Michael Parekh wants to know what people talked about at the Tablet PC/Blogger Gathering last week at CES.

As you might expect the discussions appeared to be quite varied. Most people were meeting for the first time so there was a lot of introducing going on and people wondering what others did, what they were interested in, and so on.

Realize not everyone was a Tableteer this time around. I liked that. The conversations went all over the place as a result, but still since most everyone has an intense curiousity about everyone else there were still lots of discussions about Tablets, which one we owned, what we liked about them, and which one we’d recommend.

So let me expand your question abit: What did people talk about at CES in general? And what interesting Tablet things did people talk about at the show?

Well, the first question I most often heard at CES was “Have you seen anything interesting at CES?” Most people said no. Most people said it was the same old stuff only better. Many of the press people lamented they were struggling to come up with cool gadgets to report on. I heard this a lot.

For awhile I started thinking this too. After the hundredth plasma display, dual core notebook, or cell phone that can play video you get a bit numb to it all.

Then it struck me. Hey, all around me are dual core notebooks! And after I checked out the Toshiba M400 I started getting very excited about the performance possibilities here. Yes, the M400 is an evolutionary step from the M200, but at least at this point it seems like it might prove out to be as big a step as that from the first generation machines to Centrino. It’s a bit difficult to tell at this point. There’s nothing better than hands on time to really see how the new hardware shakes out.

Oh, while at the Toshiba booth I met up with Steve from ActiveInk and he was gushing with enthusiasm for the detachable display Tablet prototype being shown. Toshiba is looking for feedback before they commit to going with the design and Steve was giving them a ton of encouragement.

I also played with the OQO for just a brief time. The size is downright impressive. This is one small computer. I didn’t appreciate its size until I held it in my hand. In terms of how it compares to the Motion LS800 I don’t think I spent enough time with it to be able to say. From a cursory standpoint, a big difference is that the OQO has a resistive display and the LS800 has an active digitizer. The essential thing here is that on the LS800 (which is bigger than the OQO) you can rest your hand on the screen as you write. Since the OQO has a resistive display, you can’t. Outside of this, I’d say that the two are essentially in different categories. The OQO is I’m guessing half the size of the LS800–if that. I bet people would use the two differently. Again, hands on experience will tell.

What was the most often mentioned “Tablet” app that I heard mentioned? OneNote. Actually, I heard OneNote mentioned by several non-Tablet owners too.

What else was new, Tablet wise? At the Microsoft booth they were showing a dual digitizer on a Motion prototype. It contained both an active digitizer and a resistive digitizer. There wasn’t a lot of buzz around this, but it was interesting to see.

Of course there was Vista too. And Office 12 was being shown on the Tablet.

But interestingly most of this new stuff didn’t make it over the buzz meter. You know what though? Even with everyone talking about what little there was that was exciting at the show, you can’t believe how packed the Microsoft booth was–particularly the Tablet area. I mean packed. I probably walked past the booth a dozen times (hmmm, probably more) and each time there was a crowd. So people are interested in Tablets, Vista, and the like even if they don’t think it’s buzz worthy. My impression is that the dual core notebooks fell into the same non-buzz trap.

To me, though, the pending dual core Tablets are a big deal–even if I didn’t get all hyped up about them at CES. With a dual core Tablet, maybe I’ll be able to run MSN desktop search without the sluggishness. Maybe I’ll be able to compile and browse the web at the same time. What is evident at CES is that the transition to dual core notebooks is going to be fast. They were everywhere. That’s going to make things very interesting. How many more people are going to now discard their desktop in favor of a notebook? And how many current notebook owners are going to see the added benefit of the Tablet PCs features–without sacrificing performance.

Anyway, Michael, hope this answers your question about what Talbet things people were discussing at CES.

Loren Heiny (1961 - 2010) was a software developer and author of several computer language textbooks. He graduated from Arizona State University in computer science. His first love was robotics.

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