Robert’s Ramblings

Robert Alonso’s Thoughts on Technology and More…

Gizmodo, a very successful blog on gadgets and technology, uncovered information about a prototype tablet computer from Microsoft that is in the late stages of development. This is remarkable because Microsoft kept this device secret for a very long time and also because it could remake a company lately thought of as a technology has-been into cool and exciting again. The device uses the portfolio metaphor and opens up into two seven inch screens that can be manipulated by touch with fingers or with a stylus. The tablet shields the user from the operating system and works like a tool that a business person or student would use to take notes, doodle, set appointments and take pictures. It does not give you a Windows-like experience, but instead a very cool, super-iPod or super-iPhone experience. The following video gives you a sample of what the device can do.

The device has one button and has indicators along the edge of one of the tablets for displaying battery power and Wi-Fi connectivity. At this time, it is unknown how the device will be charged. The back side of one tablet has a camera with flash. Pictures of the camera lens indicate that it will be 3 megapixels and that it will also have a 4X zoom. It is not clear whether the zoom is digital or optical, but I’d bet on the former. I can easily see this device being used to read books or newspapers in full color and with a page flipping metaphor. (Watch out Amazon Kindle and Sony PRS-505.)

If and when Microsoft releases this as a product, the device could eliminate the need for notebook computers while travelling. From what is visible in the video, it has excellent handwriting recognition. The tablet user in the video writes an Internet address in the browser and is taken to the site. Perhaps this will also work with some yet undisclosed email client. If you can have your schedule, a note taking device, a web browser and email in this handy form factor, why would you lug around a notebook or even a netbook. It is not known if the device will offer any entertainment options, like the ability to play music. If it does, then Microsoft will have a hit on its hands and will finally have a tool that can take away the “cool” designation from Apple.

For pictures click here.

Robert Alonso
Alonso Consulting

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