Is this the future of college computing? (The Tablet PC)(Cover Story).Professors at Purdue University Purdue University (pərdy`, -d`), main campus at West Lafayette, Ind. (IN) call it the "Wall Effect": Students straggle strag·gle
intr.v. strag·gled, strag·gling, strag·gles
1. To stray or fall behind.
2. To proceed or spread out in a scattered or irregular group.
n. into class, pull out their notebook computers and flip up their screens, effectively constructing barriers between themselves and their teachers. Add the constant cacophony of clicking keys, and the notebook can be a professor's worst nightmare.
"Our faculty members find them so distracting," says John Campbell John Campbell is the name of: British political figures
At Purdue, that "something new" may be right around the corner. In an effort to integrate technologies that fit more discreetly into the classroom environment, administrators and officials in the school's IT department are planning to pilot as many as 1,000 brand-new devices in some classes this fall. They haven't settled on a particular product just yet, but they know their upcoming strategy will hinge on Verb 1. hinge on - be contingent on; "The outcomes rides on the results of the election"; "Your grade will depends on your homework"
depend on, depend upon, devolve on, hinge upon, turn on, ride the tablet PC (1) A tablet computer environment from Microsoft that is based on an enhanced version of Windows XP. Designed to function more like a portable writing tablet than previous tablet-based computers, it includes handwriting recognition as well as the ability to retain handwritten words . Thanks to a technology known as "digital ink," tablet PCs combine the convenience of notebook computers with the ease of pen and paper, wrapping both together in devices that are not much bigger than this magazine. They're portable, durable, and interactive, and most models come ready for wireless networking See wireless network. out of the box. What's more, unlike personal digital assistants and pocket PCs, tablet technology runs on a standard operating system operating system (OS)
Software that controls the operation of a computer, directs the input and output of data, keeps track of files, and controls the processing of computer programs. , enabling users to swap files from their tablets to their desktops and back again, without ever having to convert file formats.
Still the devices aren't without their detractors; citing the tablet's high price point and newfangled new·fan·gled
1. New and often needlessly novel. See Synonyms at new.
2. Fond of novelty.
[Middle English newfanglyd, fond of novelty, alteration of touch-screen interface, industry analysts say they're skeptical the tablet PC will have any significant mass-market impact on the academic environment until it becomes more affordable for people to sample. Nevertheless, on college and university campuses across the country, people are talking tablets, and students, professors, technologists, and administrators alike tout the devices as the "next generation" of computers.
"Two years from now, I wouldn't be surprised if this technology was more the norm than the exception," says Jim Bottum, Purdue's CIO CIO: see American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.
(Chief Information Officer) The executive officer in charge of information processing in an organization. . "Who knows? Soon enough, every notebook in the academic world could be a tablet."
How It Works
Most original equipment manufacturers (0EMs) launched their tablet PC products at the end of last year, but actually, the technology behind tablet PCs has been around longer than Web browsers The following is a list of web browsers. Historical
Historically important browsers
In order of release:
manufacturing industries npl → industries fpl de transformation
, and other, more local vendors have sold similar iterations for the last five years. Other early products, too, were all about digital ink: abandoned pen-and-tablet computing precursors include Apple, General Magic, and Grid.
At the heart of current tablet technology lie a touch-screen interface and a stylus-like digital pen, which enables users to navigate and interact with the devices without the help of a mouse. Each of the tablet PCs also runs Microsoft Windows See Windows.
(operating system) Microsoft Windows - Microsoft's proprietary window system and user interface software released in 1985 to run on top of MS-DOS. Widely criticised for being too slow (hence "Windoze", "Microsloth Windows") on the machines available then. XP Tablet Edition, which lets users "write" on the screen in several ways:
* Via the "Journal" function, a utility whose interface resembles a legal pad legal pad
A pad of ruled, usually yellow writing paper that measures 8 1/2 by 14 inches. and simulates writing with "digital ink" on paper.
* Within the "Tablet Input Panel," a small. window that stretches across the width of the display, designed to emulate the pen-input window on a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) A handheld computer for managing contacts, appointments and tasks. It typically includes a name and address database, calendar, to-do list and note taker, which are the functions in a personal information manager (see PIM). screen.
* Via additional pen-enabled applications from vendors such as Corel Corp. (www.corel.com), FranklinCovey (www .franklincovey.com), and Pen&Internet LLC (Logical Link Control) See "LANs" under data link protocol.
LLC - Logical Link Control (www.penandinternet.com), all of which allow users to draw right into pre-existing files of every kind, capturing the resulting images as separate and distinct files.
Tablet PCs come in two basic designs: "slate" devices with detachable or wireless keyboards, and "convertible" devices that mimic the clamshell design of notebook computers, only with displays that swivel 360 degrees and can close over the keyboard, face up. Most of the slate devices--which resemble clipboards without the clips--come available with docking stations so users can work on them as they would work on a desktop computer. With the convertible devices such stations are not necessary, since the display is part of the device as a whole. Still, many of these devices include connecting ports to display tablet output to an external monitor.
"These products are designed to conform to Verb 1. conform to - satisfy a condition or restriction; "Does this paper meet the requirements for the degree?"
coordinate - be co-ordinated; "These activities coordinate well" however you decide you want to use them," says Tim Tiscornia, manager of mobility products for Microsoft's Education Solutions Group (www.microsoft.com). "Essentially, that's the whole idea: They're meant to make everything convenient."
Convenience is the name of the game for Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, a Brain and Cognitive Sciences cognitive sciences The areas of medicine that study the nature and processes of mental activity–eg, neurology, psychiatry, psychology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at Cambridge; coeducational; chartered 1861, opened 1865 in Boston, moved 1916. It has long been recognized as an outstanding technological institute and its Sloan School of Management has notable programs in business, who utilizes the Compaq TC1000 tablet from Hewlett Packard (www.hp.com) to assist him in his research on nerve regeneration nerve regeneration Physiology The regrowth and reconnection of viable and functional neural connections damaged by transection or other trauma . Ellis-Behnke says that when he's hunched over a microscope in the lab, jotting down notes on his tablet is just as easy as jotting down notes on paper--only with the tablet, he can save them along with other electronic files. He says he also uses his tablet to help him with lectures: With a special overhead projection accessory, Ellis-Behnke transposes the display image onto a wall screen, uses his digital pen to add emphasis that everyone can see, then e-mails students the updated notes at the end of class.
At the Temple University School of Medicine The Temple University School of Medicine (TUSM), located on the Health Science Campus of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, is one of 6 schools of medicine in Pennsylvania conferring the doctor of medicine (M.D.) degree. in Philadelphia, Professor Tom Marino The subject of this article may not satisfy the notability guideline for Biographies. If you are familiar with the subject matter, please expand or rewrite the article to establish its notability. uses his Fujitsu Stylistic ST4000 tablet for a similar purpose. Marino also projects the image from his tablet onto a wall screen, but says that he uses Corel's Grafigo software to add diagrams and flowcharts to his notes, in real time. Like Ellis-Behnke, with the flick of his digital pen, Marino then e-mails these notes to students while they're sitting there in front of him--a good strategy to prevent students from saying they never received information discussed during lecture. When he's not incorporating the device into his anatomy and cell biology Cell biology
The study of the activities, functions, properties, and structures of cells. Cells were discovered in the middle of the seventeenth century after the microscope was invented. lectures, Marino says he utilizes the tablet's Journal function to schedule personal appointments and jot down Verb 1. jot down - write briefly or hurriedly; write a short note of
write - communicate or express by writing; "Please write to me every week" helpful reminders.
"Sometimes I'll use it just to write myself notes," he quips. "It's certainty easier than opening up [a word processing word processing, use of a computer program or a dedicated hardware and software package to write, edit, format, and print a document. Text is most commonly entered using a keyboard similar to a typewriter's, although handwritten input (see pen-based computer) and program], and spending the time to type whatever you need to record."
Granted, adoption is slower among professors at most other schools, but gradually, more and more educators are giving tablets a try. At some IHEs, students are even getting in on the act: In Illinois, at the Kellogg School of Management
As O'Toole tells it, none of these software features comes in as handy as the Form function of the tablet itself. Many Kellogg classes involve group learning, and O'Toole says that during these sessions, he swivels the display screen so his group partners can see his notes. "Rather than having everyone crowd around the screen of someone's laptop, we can proceed comfortably together."
What Happens Next
By and large, few, if any, academics say they have any practical knowledge of tablet PCs beyond what they've seen in advertisements and on TV. (Microsoft recently purchased a vast number of ads in magazines and on Web sites to try and get the word about its tablet operating system on the street.) Still, the tablet is a relative mystery.
While some experts attribute this to the relative newness of tablet technology overall, others say a sense of "elitism e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism
1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources. " already has become one of the biggest challenges to the product's survival in all markets. "Tablet PCs are still an unknown quantity," says Roger Kay, an analyst with IDC market researchers (www.idcresearch.com). Kay questions whether tablet technology can become more than a niche product in the medical and academic industries. "At first [mass-market] consumers will see them as ergonomically clumsy or oversized o·ver·size
1. A size that is larger than usual.
2. An oversize article or object.
adj. o·ver·size also o·ver·sized
Larger in size than usual or necessary. PDAs," he says.
Another challenge to tablet adoption in academia is price. A look at the products on the market (see page 63) indicates that the cheapest tablet design sells for about $1,600, and the average price comes in at about $2,200. These prices more or less are in line with premium and ultra-portable notebooks, but according to Leslie Fiering, VP of Mobile Computing for Gartner, the market analysts (www.gartner.com), so long as students and other academic customers can purchase notebook computers for less than $1,200, they will.
"Most of the customers in the academic world aren't operating with unlimited disposable income disposable income
Portion of an individual's income over which the recipient has complete discretion. To assess disposable income, it is necessary to determine total income, including not only wages and salaries, interest and dividend payments, and business profits, but also ," says Fiering, who has followed tablet technology since OEMs first announced their development strategies in the summer of 2001. "Until the price factors between notebooks and tablets are 100 percent equal, I don't think this [new technology] will catch on with anyone but niche users."
Whatever happens with regard to price, perhaps the paramount challenge to the adoption of tablet PCs in academia is general practicality. As Flaring points out, there's no compelling reason for most consumers to move toward the tablet design--pen input is a luxury, and most users already have conditioned themselves to take notes on a traditional keyboard. What's more, with pen and paper serving just fine as note-taking implements for hundreds of years, Fiering wonders whether customers in and out of academia really will become willing to adopt this technology on the large scale.
At IDC, Kay offers both best- and worst-case scenarios for tablet PCs on the general scale. At worst, he says, tablets will struggle in the market, selling about 575,000 units in the U.S. this calendar year, rising to 1.9 million units in 2006. At best, he says, sales will hit 800,000 units this year, and reach 7.3 million units in 2006. None of these numbers say anything in particular about academia, but with supporters such as Ellis-Behnke and the folks at Purdue, the mere prospect of tapping the academic marketplace on a broad scale has OEMs licking their lips.
"This technology perfectly addresses all of the previous complaints about notebook computers," says Craig Marking, senior product marketing manager for Toshiba (www.toshiba.com), whose Portege 3500 marks among the most popular tablet PCs. "Whenever people in the academic world come to realize that fact depends on them."
Matt Villano is a freelance writer based in Seattle, and Moss Beach, CA.
Decisions, decisions: there's no shortage of tablet PC products on the market today. Here's how you can tell them apart.
Product: TravelMate C100
Manufacturer: Acer Inc.
Web site: www.acer.com
Endorsed by Microsoft, the TravelMate C100 is a top seller. It includes an ultra-low-voltage mobile Intel Pentium III processor that operates at 800 megahertz One million cycles per second. See MHz.
MegaHertz - (MHz) Millions of cycles per second. The unit of frequency used to measure the clock rate of modern digital logic, including microprocessors. , as well as a 20-gigabyte hard drive. TravelMate also is available with an integrated InviLink 802.11b wireless LAN module and internal antenna. Acer's new Centrino TM110 Tablet is now shipping, too.
Product: Scribbler scrib·bler
One who scribbles, especially an author regarded as very minor, untalented, or disreputable: a scribbler of sentimental verse.
Manufacturer: Electrovaya, Inc.
Web site: www.electrovaya.com
Boasting the longest battery life on the market (up to 16 hours), the Scribbler is also available with a $99 battery upgrade that powers the product for a full day/night. This Canadian-made tablet features a low-voltage mobile Intel Celeron processor that operates at 733 megahertz, a 20-gigabyte hard drive, integrated 802.11b wireless connectivity, and a built-in joystick for easy gaming.
Product: Compaq TC1000
Mfr: Hewlett Packard Co.
Web site: www.hp.com
The Compaq TC1000 weighs in at just 3 lbs, making it one of the lightest tablet PCs on the market. It comes standard with a removable keyboard and flexible docking system that does net require synchronization. Also standard are a 1-gigahertz Crusoe TM5800 processor, 30-gigabyte hard drive, 10.4-inch screen, and built-in wireless networking capabilities.
Product: Portege 3500
Mfr: Toshiba America, Inc.
Web site: www.toshiba.com
This tablet features the fastest processing speeds, thanks to a 1.33-gigahertz, Intel Pentium III processor-M with Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology. The device also offers 20-, 30-, or 40-gigabyte hard drives, and an optional 802.11b wireless network card. The convertible design enables use as a traditional notebook or a stand-alone slate-type tablet PC.
Product: Toughbook CF18
Manufacturer: Panasonic USA (Matsushita Electric Corp.)
Web site: www.panasonic.com
Based on a 900-megahertz version of the new Pentium M ULV ULV Ultra Low Voltage
ULV University of La Verne (La Verne, CA)
ULV Ultra Low Volume
ULV Ultra Light Vliegtuig
ULV Unmanned Launch Vehicle
ULV UltraLink Viewer (Rose Electronics) processor, the CF18 boasts what Intel calls its new Centrino mobile technology. The device features a full magnesium alloy case, as well as integrated wireless WAN, LAN (Local Area Network) A communications network that serves users within a confined geographical area. The "clients" are the user's workstations typically running Windows, although Mac and Linux clients are also used. , and GPS. And while the average weight of other tablet PC devices is rarely more than 3.5 lbs, the "tougher" Tough-book weighs a hefty 4.4.
Product: Tablet PC
Manufacturer: Gateway, Inc.
Web site: www.gateway.com
The Gateway Tablet PC weighs just about 3 lbs, and comes with a mobile keyboard and a docking station that features several ports for connecting peripherals. The device also features integrated 802.1 lb wireless Internet capability, a low-volt, Intel Pentium III processor that operates at 866 megahertz, and a 40-gigabyte hard drive. While other tablets come with one digitized pen, this one comes with two.
Product: Stylistic ST4000
Manufacturer: Fujitsu Limited
Web site: www.fujitsu.com
The Stylistic ST4000 weighs a mere 3.2 lbs and is less than an inch thick The device comes standard with an 800-megahertz ultra-low-voltage mobile Intel Pentium III Processor, a 20-gigabyte hard drive, and a wireless keyboard. It also is available with a revolutionary tablet dock, enabling it to be used like a desktop.
Mfr: PaceBlade Technologies, Inc.
Web site: www.paceblade.com
Perhaps the most notable feature on this device is the Crusoe TM5800 processor, a full-speed processor that requires only 5 watts of power, obviating ob·vi·ate
tr.v. ob·vi·at·ed, ob·vi·at·ing, ob·vi·ates
To anticipate and dispose of effectively; render unnecessary. See Synonyms at prevent. a fan. The PaceBook also offers a 12.1-inch screen, two USB ports, and an IEEE-1394 port that enables users to connect high-speed devices or digital camcorders. The device sports a tripod hole and can be mounted anywhere, just like a flat-screen TV.
Product: Tablet PC V1100
Manufacturer: ViewSonic Corp.
Web site: www.view sonic.cam
Compact and lightweight at only 3.4 lbs, the V1100 comes with an 866-megahertz mobile Intel Pentium III processor and a 20-gigabyte hard drive. The product features built-in, 802.1lb Mini-PCI wireless connectivity, and a new bezel The front cover of a desktop or tower computer case. The term also refers to the individual drive bay covers, which are removed to install CD-ROMs and other removable drives that require access from the front of the case. design boasts eight one-touch access buttons, as well. Depending on where you buy it, the V1100 also may come with a free mini-USB keyboard.
Product: Motion M1200
Mfr: Motion Computing, Inc.
Web site: www.motioncomputing.com
Launched by a spinoff of former Dell programmers, this device is the closest Michael Dell wants to get to tablet technology at this juncture. The tablet boasts a ULV mobile Intel Pentium III processor that operates at 866 megahertz, as well as a 20-gigabyte hard drive. With the help of the $100 M-Series FlexDock, Motion also offers a "grab and go" docking solution for mounting at a desktop.
Product: Versa Versa Versatile System Architecture (Genrad) LitePad
Manufacturer: NEC (NEC Corporation, Tokyo, www.nec.com, www.necus.com) An electronics conglomerate known in the U.S. for its monitors. In Japan, it had the lion's share of the PC market until the late 1990s (see PC 98).
NEC was founded in Tokyo in 1899 as Nippon Electric Company, Ltd. Solutions, Inc.
Web site: www.necsolutionsam.cam
At 2.2 lbs, NEC's Versa LitePad is the industry's thinnest and lightest tablet PC solution. The product features an ultra-low-voltage mobile Pentium III processor that operates at 933 megahertz, a 20-gigabyte hard drive, and a bevy bevy
a flock of birds. of pro-installed software packages, including Corel Grafigo, FranklinCovey TabletPlanner, Adobe Acrobat Reader Version 5.0, and Alias/Wavefront SketchBook Pro.--MJV