Apple: Another step towards a Tablet Book


When will we see a MacTablet? Apart of decent hardware you need ink enabled OS and applications, decent handwriting recognition and a killer app.

MacGadget links to an Apple job description in which Cupertino searches for a „Handwriting Recognition Engineer“ who shall be „responsible for advancing Apple’s handwriting recognition technology for Mac OS X“.

The technology „may extend beyond Mac OS X to other applications and the iPhone“.

Some months ago it was reported that Asus is helping Apple to create a Mac Tablet. I blogged about that here but have not heard any news since then.

The news would be really exciting if Apple is seeking for more than just one new engineer for their Handwriting Recognition team. With the iPhone you have OS X and a touch screen. Adding a pen it would be easy e.g. to save short notes or new contacts hand written, convert them to text and synch with your Mac. But that alone wouldn’t enable all the great things you can do with a Tablet PC. Nevertheless this is another step in the right direction :)

[Update 04.01.2008, 00:59]

I should have mentioned that Axiotron has already modded a MacBook into a TabletMac called Axiotron Modbook. Price is high but OK price, esp. regarding the current Euro/Dollar relation (around 1800 Euro including 2.4 GHz CPU, 250 HD and 4 GB RAM). In a forum thread several users report that they can use ink under Parallels (or Fusion) in virtualized Windows XP and Vista after installing the Wacom driver and of course under Boot Camp Windows. Downside: Weight of 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds). No European resellers yet, but the US shop ships worldwide.

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Yes, Eee PC will have Touchscreen very soon.


Today Digitimes reports that Asus „8.9 inch second generation Eee PC line up will include Touchscreen panels and possible GPS support“. Digitimes report is highly credible, I think. This is the same info I heard from Asus at Cebit three weeks ago, unfortunately without being allowed to post it ;).

It is not clearly stated in the quote but I’d like to point out that this means that touch functionality will be an option („lineup will include“) and not available for all different upcoming Eee PC models. Note that Kevin Lin, Vice President Sale, projects a 500 $ price (around 400 Euro). Launch to be expected in May or June.

As Microsoft OS is much more demanding for smooth usage than Linux, Asus is forced to increase RAM and flash disk size for those models. Digitimes relies on „industry sources“ saying that minimum RAM will be 1 GB and flash disk 8-12 GB.

I see some pretty nice usage scenarios esp. when you set up synchronization and make your important stuff available online for your workforce, esp. with also planned integrated 3G (UMTS) option.

Conclusion

Must have for Tablet fans. Great breakthrough for Tablet platform. Hard times for FSC and their new 8.9 inch Lifebook P1620 with much powerful hardware (would that matter for just taking some notes, word processing and E-Mail?), but in a price range far beyond 2000 Euro.

BTW, if you are an experienced Bastler, there is no need to wait: Take a look at these nice videos and create your current Eee PC a Tablet PC :)

Clevo Tablet TN120R already available in Germany – from 700 to 2200 Euro


Clevo showed the 12 inch convertible Tablet PC „TN120R“ at Cebit in Hannover, several favorable reports have appeared on the web, e.g. on Gottabemobile or Slashgear („amazing“).

The device is already available in Germany, you can buy it in the web shop of German assembler Schenker („MySN“) based in Leipzig. Pricing starts with 699 Euro (currently around 1100 US-$) including a Celeron M540 (1.86 GHz) CPU, 1 Gig of RAM, 120 GB HD, no WLAN, no OS. High end version with Core 2 Duo T9500 (Penryn) at 2.6 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache and 800 MHz FSB, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB SSD, Intel WLAN 4965a/g/n and Vista Ultimate currently costs 2,199 Euro (3450 US-$).

The TN120R is a 12 inch Tablet with 1280×800 screen resolution (no info of brightness) and a weight of 2.1 kg. The TN120R is based on Intel GM965 chipset. It includes X3100 graphics (no dedicated RAM), a 2 Megapixel webcam, Bluetooth, 7in1 card reader, 3 USB ports, FireWire, GigLAN, 56k modem, DVD burner and a digitizer pen. Optional components are CPU, WLAN, HD size, RAM, 3G. Drivers are available for Windows XP (x86) and Windows Vista (x86 and x64).

Lowlight seems to be the battery which is a 4-cell 2200 mAh thing.

No info available on screen brightness. It seems to be a digitizer

Conclusion

Tablet PCs will get more awareness for the mainstream users due to the affordable pricing. You can get a decent Tablet for under 1000 Euro. This should effect prices of business tablets and increase market share of Tablets.

Product page Clevo

http://www.clevo.com.tw/en/products/prodinfo_2.asp?productid=63

XP and Vista drivers, user manual from Clevo

http://www.clevo.com.tw/en/e-services/Download.asp

TN120R at MySN shop

http://www.mysn.eu/shop_asp/?fwlink=fwDIRECTPRODUCT&prodnr=adkk0001

Flybook flying back to Germany


„We have a new company, a new management – and a new booth“, we were told at Cebit. OK, the booth was white instead of black, but some of the managemenet staff and some of the girls were the same as last year ;).

Instead of being 50-50 taiwanese-italian Holbe Dialogue (in insolvency), the Italians now are a subsidiary of Dialogue Technology Corp., but more important for a „tedesco“: Flybook is flying back to Germany.

Last year their German sales man left Flybook, now they have a new distributor, Guido Crott of confidelis GmbH & Co. KG, known for www.myflybook.de. Older models are available in his shop, V5 at nearly 2500 Euros including Intel U2500 CPU and 3G (HSDPA/EDGE). Guido says to have V5 refresh model (with newer U7600 ULV CPU) listed very soon.

Guido is currently working on a new partner program so that the Flybooks will land in more shops all around Germany.

Flybook: V5 gets SSD option, successor V6 will be based on Montevina/Centrino 2 later this year


Flybook has updated its 8.9 inch Tablet PC model „V5“ at CES in January (Core 2 Duo CPU ULV U7600 with 1.2 GHz, Intel 945 chipset, 80 Gig default HD and 1.3 megapixel webcam), it is now available in Germany. At Cebit we heard that a SanDisk SSD will be available as an option „soon“.

V5 to be followed by V6 based Intel Centrino 2 platform

More interesting, Flybook is currently developing next incarnation of their stylish Tablets, to be called V6, Product Manager Moreno Lizzi told me at Cebit. The display will be improved, being „sunlight readable“.

More important, V6 will be based on new Montevina platform from Intel, Moreno said. He has no specific launch date but said, „as soon as there is an ULV version of the CPU“ – Intel plans to launch Montevina, also called Centrino 2, in June.

Other news: most popular colors among Flybook buyers are gold and pink, Flybook notebooks for European market are assembled in Italy, docking stations are considered, news bags are being selected.