There has been a lot of noise lately about a potential Apple tablet. What’s really funny are some of the comments on the Apple focus blog sites about how recent news about a tablet from Microsoft is an attempt by Microsoft to copy Apple and enter the tablet market. For those of us who have been using tablets for awhile this is hilarious. Microsoft has had tablet extensions since Windows 2000 and produced a special version of XP with designed specifically for OEMs of tablet PCs.
Now comes word that Microsoft has a tablet under development that uses 2 screens with a hinged spine to allow it to close like a book. Its generating a lot of excitement as something new, but for those who have been following the tablet scene for a while it seems familiar. If you need a hint check out Ken Hinckley’s blog post from October 1, 2008. Ken talks about and shows off in pictures his “Codex” made from 2 OQO model 2 PCs and running a customized interface based on InkSiene. I loved this from the moment I first read about it and even considered creating my own primitive version using 2 TC1100’s.
Since I am sorely lacking in programming skills my intent was to use off the shelf products to create a system small networked system that I could take to meetings, using the left side (I’m right handed) to control connectivity with the outside world and running Internet Connection Sharing to connect to the second via wired Ethernet. Besides controlling connectivity to the outside world the left side would primarily function as a “consumer” of information, holding a repository of reference material viewed using e-book readers, PDF Annotator (for reading and marking up PDF files), and viewers for Microsoft Office files. The right side would be where I would take notes using OneNote and create content, primarily using Microsoft Office applications.
Both units would be carried inside a custom portfolio case which would also serve to house the Ethernet cable connecting the 2 devices, as well as a USB cable to be used to connect to my Windows Smartphone for 3G connectivity, and dual power jacks to allow both machines to be charges while still in the portfolio.
The prototype leaked via Gizmodo site is far slicker than anything I could have put together and appears to be a direct descendent of Ken Hinckley’s Codex prototype. Release of this by Microsoft would be a huge step forward for the tablet PC, are you listening Microsoft?