MS TabletPCs to debut in 2002 at laptop prices

Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates unveiled the first public showing of a TabletPC prototype Sunday during his keynote address at Comdex in the US.

The company has been working in earnest since July of last year on the device which will be manufactured by OEMs, according to Alex Loeb, general manager of Microsoft's TabletPC. The hardware draws on Microsoft technology such as handwriting recognition which has been in development at the software giant for a number of years, she added.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed that the device appears sometime in 2002," Loeb said. "It's a lot of work." In terms of the identities of the TabletPC OEMs, the major laptop manufacturers are the most likely suspects, she added, with the device costing around the same price as laptops.

Microsoft is also intending to include its speech-recognition technology in TabletPC devices from "day one," according to Loeb. "My theory is that there's a very vocal minority who want speech," she said. The company may also use speech as another user interface for the devices, Loeb added.

Currently, there are a couple of hundred TabletPC prototypes in existence and Microsoft is already talking to OEMs about the devices, Loeb said. Microsoft's core TabletPC development team is about 100 people, but factoring in the company's use of its other technologies in the device, the number of company staff involved in the project is anywhere between several hundred and a thousand employees, she added.

Microsoft eventually plans to use the TabletPC technology to create whiteboard-sized devices, but development is not yet underway, according to Loeb.

Charlton Lui, Microsoft's development manager for TabletPC, said that the device will also run games and will operate as a full-function laptop. He mentioned that Microsoft research had revealed that over 50 per cent of people get irritated by the noise their colleagues make when typing on their laptops at meetings, a problem TabletPC resolves since users handwrite onto the device using a stylus.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Clare Haney

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?