Tablet PCs: Notebooks with a twist

This week's introduction of tablet PCs from 23 vendors will bring new makers and striking new designs into the notebook PC market.

Microsoft Corp. has posted names of tablet hardware makers, at www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/tablepcproductinfo/Partners, as well as makers of software compatible with the handwriting recognition feature in the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system.
Tablets can work with either a stylus or a keyboard, but they do not have touch screens. Various makers' tablets will differ considerably in size, weight and looks.

Microsoft's OS requires six advanced hardware features: a rotatable screen, as shown in the image at left of the Acer TravelMate C100, a screen digitizer for stylus use, five-second recovery from standby, 'surprise' undocking without crashes, Universal Serial Bus-only connections and a single hardware log-on button.

Look for a GCN Lab review of two tablet PCs at www.gcn.com on Nov. 7.

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