Here is a blog post that I wrote at the pool today.
I’ve decided to throw some ink blogs up on www.tabletpc.com.au.
Motion Computing won the Microsoft OEM Partner of the Year awards this year. Whilst Motion are a big company in our terms, they are a minnow in the Microsoft OEM world, so it’s really great to see this award going their way.
I really like the way Motion pushes the boundaries with their products. Their display technology is the best of the best, Gorilla Glass is a must have for Tablet PCs and their battery technology is well in front of their competitors too.
We’re heading to Mackay in North Queensland this week with a bunch of Motion Computing J3500s and Motion Computing F5vs for the Queensland Mining and Engineering Expo. 2 years ago, Motion Computing Tablets were a marginal possibility for mining duties, but now thanks to the ruggedness of tablets like the F5v and J3500 – which have seriously impressed companies like Rio Tinto, Newcrest and Northbridge Mining – the Motion Computing brand can be found in many mining situations.
So congratulations to Motion Computing on winning the Microsoft OEM Partner of the Year Award. Well deserved!
I got hold of the Motion Computing J3500 this week, both the touch and Gorilla Glass models. As I mentioned in my last post I’ve been using the Fujitsu Lifebook T900, but I find that I use it almost exclusively as a slate. So I’m in the process of switching my mobile operations to the J3500.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the T900. It is certainly my first choice of convertible Tablet PCs. Fujitsu have been extremely reliable for us (less than 1% failure rates so far which is remarkable), and the T900 will continue to be my mobile video editing machine due to it’s performance profile.
I’m switching to the Motion Computing J3500 because of it’s smaller profile, dual battery setup (to be fair I could do this with the T900 too) and the Gobi mobile broadband. We don’t have mobile broadband as an option on the T900 here in Australia unfortunately.
So it’s onto the Motion Computing J3500 with touch. Here is a video that we shot to give you a little preview of it.
After using the J3500 and T900 for a few months now I am extremely impressed with Windows 7 and touch. The only drawback that I have found is that I am constantly touching the Wacom Interactive Pen Display in my office with my finger. I have to remind myself…
Motion Computing announced the J3500 this week. I’ve known about the Motion J3500 for quite a few months now and I have been looking forward to getting my hands on a touch slate tablet with some serious grunt. There are plenty of touch slate tablets on the market of course, but most of them are far to underpowered to replace a laptop of a desktop PC. Not so with the J3500.
I’m currently using the Fujitsu T900 around the home and office for general duties like video editing, music recording and note taking. It has been one of my favourite Tablet PCs to date. It has an Intel Core i7 processor (serious grunt) and features a Wacom active digitizer and multi-touch panel.
It’s amazing to think about how far Tablets have come since I had my first HP TC1000. To use a Tablet, you used to have to take a massive hit on performance. But this Fujitsu T900 and the new Motion J3500 proves that those days are long gone.
I was using the Apple iPad at home, but I found it way too simple for even my simple tasks… so I switched over to the T900. What I have found though is that I have not swivelled the screen of the T900 out of slate mode in a couple of weeks now. I have also practically not used the iPad since.
I’ve found that I’m using touch much more than I thought I would. Touch is no substitute for the Wacom active digitizer pen. The digitizer is perfect as a substitute for a keyboard. It’s perfect for drawing, and more importantly note taking – which I do a heck of a lot of. But touch is great for navigating, web browsing and really short text entry – for example entering URLs.
So effectively I’m currently using the T900 as a slate… But it’s an unnecessarily bulky and heavy slate. And that’s why I’m looking forward to the Motion J3500.
A lot of people that I speak to are a bit apprehensive about going to slate Tablets – I know I was when I first saw the Motion LE1600 at a shop in Sydney several years ago. I thought it was a bit crazy and I took refuge in my hybrid TC1100 at the time. What I’ve found is that particularly since Windows 7, I need the keyboard less and less… at least when I’m mobile.
When I’m in the office, I have the tablet docked with a 23” Full HD screen and an ergonomic keyboard and mouse. A lot of people don’t realise that slate tablets like the Motion J3500 can be docked, so you really don’t miss out on the keyboard at all. Like the TC1100, the J3500 also has a mobile keyboard that you can take with you, but personally I’ve found that I no longer need it.
So for me, the J3500 is the ultimate mobile work tool. It will also do some serious duty at play.
One of the best known digital inkers of all time is Sumocat who writes for Gottabemobile.com. To see a great example of what digital inking is all about, visit Sumocat’s ink blog here: http://sumocat.blogspot.com/
But something that he said in a comment on one of his articles yesterday got me thinking…
Just about the only thing I don’t like about the iPad is the lack of real inking, but this isn’t something that appeals to the masses. – Sumocat, Gottabemobile.com comments
Last night I was out at a business lounge in the Melbourne Airport Hilton with a couple of Motion Computing VPs and Sumocat’s comment came to mind… As I looked across the room I noticed business people all over the place having informal meetings and taking notes on pen and paper.
Perhaps Sumocat’s comment was referring to the fact that people don’t use pen and paper so much while vegetating on the couch (or toilet) – which is of course the intended use case for an Apple ipad. And he’d be right about that… Touch will do just fine.
However, I thought how many people work in an office, attend meetings all day long and take notes? Tablet PCs in their current form are unbelievably ideal for this use case, and I’d have to say that there are masses.
At home, at work, in the car (as a passenger or stopped of course!), at church, at the shops, at the post office… there are so many places that you scribble notes on paper. Surely everyone does that?
Touch in any form will simply not cut it to replace the ballpoint pen, but a proper windows Tablet PC with an active digitizer can! If we could only get them into a consumer format and priced like an Apple iPad.
I think now that Apple will never adopt the pen. I doubt that Google will either when they release a couple Tablet PCs shortly. C’mon Microsoft, it’s time to act on Courier – put your cards on the table(t)!
Thanks to Apple iPad madness, my Tablet PC YouTube channel goes over 200,000 views tomorrow… At the start of the year (only one month ago), I was celebrating 100,000 views. Most of the traffic has been aimed at one video I did showing off the Motion Computing F5 with windows 7 on it.
I filmed this video before the release of Windows 7 showing it alongside another F5 with Windows Vista on it.
I wanted to show off the improvements for tablet PC users in windows 7 as well as the Motion F5 hardware… I think that I’ve certainly succeeded in both! This video itself will account for 100,000 views in a couple of days.
The thing that strikes me is that there are so many people who still don’t even know about Windows Tablet PCs, even though they have been around for 10 years in their current form (20 years really on Windows).
Sure 200,000 views is nothing compared to the dizziness that surrounds an Apple product launch, but I’m still proud of what we have achieved so far here down under… All part of a days work for me to get the message out about real, useful tablet PCs that will make your job quicker and easier – not just Apple richer. Swipe!
I was seriously expecting the Apple iPad to be a game changer, but it appears to me that the folks at Cupertino haven’t spent any time using real Tablets. If they had, the iPad probably wouldn’t be lacking an active digitiser with digital ink capabilities.
When commentators said that the lack of Tablet PC sales means that people don’t like the pen, maybe Apple listened. But most of those folks that pass comment on Tablet PCs haven’t seriously used one either…
It’s not true that people don’t like the pen. They might not like the idea of it, but for the most part they’ve never tried it, so they don’t really know that they don’t like it. It’s an experience that they have never been able to have, so they really don’t know how useful it is. The disappointing thing is that thanks to Apple, they may never know.
Windows Tablets are still far from perfect, but due to the lack of a digitiser they are still far more useful than the iPad appears to be.
To give you an example, I spent the weekend in a conference. I took notes through the entire full day session on a Motion Computing C5 tablet on one battery. That included scribbled notes, mind maps, sketches, drawings and audio. Windows indexed all of my handwritten content in the background so that I can search through it… which I often do.
Another example, when a customer calls on the phone, I have my Tablet PC open with Microsoft OneNote and our enquiry form template. I fill in the details we discuss without distracting the person on the other end from the conversation with the noise of frantic key tapping. It’s much faster to note take this way than on the keyboard anyway.
I often take screen shots of things like web pages, pictures, documents and videos, then scribble on them and email them off using the Microsoft Snipping Tool.
I never print letters of faxes that I have to sign. I just sign on the screen and email them straight back using Bluebeam or Word.
Digital note taking, sketching and drawing is all impractical on a device like the iPhone or iPad. There are no tools to do it with… Sure, you could use the brushes application shown at the iPad launch to draw with your finger… But that’s a bit like drawing with a blunt stick. Practically useless when compared to using a Tablet PC with a Wacom active digitiser – Which is both proximity and pressure sensitive, while your touch screen is neither.
No, there are only 2 things that have held Windows based Tablet PCs back from going where Apple is about to go (and I’m not talking about UMPCs here).
Windows Tablets did not take a huge hit today, because Apple decided to play it safe. Did Apple fall into the old corporate trap of too many focus groups, too many committees, too many meetings, too many voices of fear in the back of their heads? They played it safe and just supersized an existing product… I don’t think that’s going to fly.
This is not the mobile phone scenario where windows mobile is being seriously spanked by the iPhone. Phones are pretty much a closed system, whereas Windows Tablets leverage the 92% of computers in the world that run Windows, not to mention the fact that they can connect to and access practically any server be that Windows, *nix or Mac.
That said, if Microsoft et al don’t act – and be seen to act – it may be only a matter of time until history is rewritten by Apple.
Remember the first iPhone? With no 3G, no video, no app store? Apple won’t stand still with a seriously deficient product like this until it becomes a seriously useful product like the iPhone 3Gs.
But I had hoped for something game changing. I had hoped that Apple would bring something new to the slate form factor with some radical new input method like mind control or eye tracking… Something that was just out there!
Coming down off of the high of finally meeting the unicorn (Apple Tablet has been a myth for 5 years now), I am starting to feel a little disappointed.
One of the biggest benefits of having a tablet is input. Taking notes, drawing, handwriting recognition. Apple iPad has none of that. It even appears to have kept the same virtual keyboard as the iPhone – which is good enough for a 3 inch screen, but hardly ideal for a 10” one.
On the iPhone, input is frustrated by constant switching form letters to numbers to symbols and it appears that Apple haven’t really even addressed this with their legendary innovation… Nothing.
In the end, it appears that we’ll have to wait for MS and partners to come back with a decently priced super mobile digitizer tablet that handles handwriting recognition, sketching and note taking. At the end of the day they already have all that right now, but just not at the right price!
So it turns out that the Apple iPad is a consumption device for consumers. Disappointing.
Seth Godin confirmed tomorrow’s release of Apple Tablet on his blog this morning…
I want to be the very first author to announce a new project for Apple’s tablet.
Steve Jobs will probably never speak to me again for announcing before his launch. That’s okay, he never speaks to me anyway.
It’s not really news, but it’s still interesting… As is the Vook Video / Book reading platform that is referred to in the post.
My verdict: Super impressed!
The eInk screen is very comfortable to read, although I didn’t get a chance to use it in the sun (as it rained in QLD pretty much the whole time).
What I like about the Kindle 2:
What I don’t like about the Kindle 2:
Pros outweigh the cons as far as I’m concerned. The Kindle 2 will do much to attract people to e-reading.
What I’m really excited about is the prospect of using a Tablet PC or UMPC that fills this form factor. No, I don’t want it to run some dumbed down mobile phone OS like Google Chrome or Windows Mobile either… I want full Windows on it. I want it to replace my desktop like my Motion J3400 does… Can’t wait for that – It’s only a matter of time.