Specs for Tablet Computers for People on the Go

Finding the sweet-spot for tablet computers involves choosing the size of hardware that is the right trade-off between portability and capability.  The initial bunch of tablet PCs running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition optimized for capability, resulting in computers that are too big to carry around easily.  For some people this is the best size, but for others such as doctors and nurses who are on the move a lot and need their hands free the sweet-spot for people on the go is a computer small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, but capable enough to use real software and Web resources. This page was begun in November 2002, within days of the release of Windows XP Tablet Edition and as of July 2005 there has been hardware that meets the specifications:

Small enough to carry around but big enough to use:  Many men would wear a sport jacket if that would allow them to carry around a tablet computer with full capabilities of a desktop computer.  The "Ultra-Mobile PCs" (UMPCs) are about the size of a standard sport jacket pocket and the Motion Computing LS800 is the size of a typical doctor's white coat pocket (or an enlarged sport jacket pocket).

High enough screen pixels and digitization resolution: The Motion Computing LS800 and Sony computers have 800 x 600 resolution; this works fine with most applications and with LCD projectors, but Microsoft's UMPCs standard allows a resolution as low as 800 x 480 and stretches 800 x 600 displays to fit.

Uses a true Tablet operating system: The Motion Computing LS800 and UMPCs use Windows XP Tablet Edition, as do some versions of the OQO.  All allow pen input; some allow touch input.  The small pen-enabled computers from Sony use regular Windows XP, not Windows XP Tablet PC edition.  The RitePen software bundled with the Sony U series computers claims that it allows "instant entry into any Windows application".  It would be helpful if Windows XP Tablet PC edition had similar backward compatibility. 

Power supply duration:  Hot-swappable batteries allow people to keep going without carrying around huge batteries.  The Motion Computing LS800 has hot-swappable 3 hour batteries, and use of Standby mode increases battery life hugely, with only a 5 second wake-up time.

Useful links:

Copyright 05-Sep-2009 Mickey Segal.  If you have other good points to add please send them along.