Do Windows designers use Tablet PCs?

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When seeing the early sketches of Windows 7 designers, like those shown here, I wonder: Do they use a Tablet PC to design with?

This blog post on the Windows 7 Engineering Blog doesn’t give us a hint as to what the designers might use. In part the article says:

“We captured our, many, ideas in very quick sketches that we shared via an internal website. Transferred from the whiteboards in our offices and hallways, these took less than 5 minutes to sketch each.”

My guess is that most of the sketches were done on paper and scanned in, but that’s just a guess. Maybe they use AutoDesk’s Sketchbook. That would be my first choice anyway.

This talk of early design sketches brings me back to the SketchFlow feature that the Expression Design team is working on. Would the Windows designers have used SketchFlow if it were available? Would they have made their sketches within Expression Blend?

Outside of these questions, I think it at least illustrates to me my original belief: That professional designers want much, much better sketching tools than those shown in Expression Design 3 for SketchFlow. Minimally, we’re talking at a level set by the former Alias Sketchbook.

Again, I can’t help but think of how much of a mistake it was for Microsoft’s acquisition team to pass on acquiring Sketchbook. Of course, that could go for Apple too. I think they missed out–especially considering their core artist-slash-designer audience.