Looking forward to the Motion J3500

Motion J3500 with touchMotion 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.

IFujitsu T900t’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.

Motion J3500 dockedWhen 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.


Tablet PC – why you need to be patient…

Microsoft MouseEvery article I read about Tablet PCs in mainstream IT press seems to want label the Tablet PC as a failed concept. As I watch significant numbers of Tablet PCs walk out the door every month in our business, I chuckle every time I hear about it… Of course, even I’m old enough to know that it’s all happened before…

Into Personal Computing History…

In its current form, the PC mouse is now 42 years old, but it is really only 25 years since it went mainstream with the Apple Macintosh – 1984… Here’s what a respected PC journalist had to say about that:

"The nature of the personal computer is simply not fully understood by companies like Apple (or anyone else for that matter). Apple makes the arrogant assumption of thinking that it knows what you want and need. It, unfortunately, leaves the “why” out of the equation – as in “why would I want this?” The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I dont want one of these new fangled devices."

John C. Dvorak – Commenting on the mouse that came with the Apple Macintosh, San Francisco Examiner, 19 February 1984

Tablet PC Meeting With Paper And ScissorsThat pretty much sums up the way the tech journos  write about Tablets and UMPCs today…

Like the switch from keyboard to the mouse, most people will initially resist the change… I still know people who hate the mouse so much that they continue to operate completely without one.

That said, even I was still using PCs without a mouse well into the 90’s (we had PCs at home, not Macs). Nowadays, it would be practically impossible to work without a mouse (barring touch and pen input of course!).

I believe that the adoption of Touch and tablet technology is similar. Digital pen technology has been around in a commercial form for 20 years now, but it really hit the mainstream in 2001 (2006 for UMPC). So it’s been 9 years and things are getting exciting for a couple of reasons:

  1. Better hardware – outdoor / indoor screens, capacitive touch, low power processors, mobile broadband access.
  2. Better software – Windows 7, multi-touch, Android, better handwriting recognition and ink enabled apps like Microsoft Office.

HP TC1100 Convertible Hybrid Tablet PC with Docking StationSo the Tablet will continue to gain ground as  an accepted mainstream form of computing.

However, it won’t play out exactly the same. That’s because tablets are most useful in mobile scenarios, whereas the mouse could be used practically on a desktop. Practical Tablet PC use also has much higher software and processing requirements – like handwriting recognition and virtual keyboard input.

That means that unlike the mouse which is now attached to practically every PC, tablets will probably never gain that sort of presence. Additionally, they will take longer to gain mainstream acceptance.

Apple will have a good crack at it this year… like they did with the mouse, with the release of some sort of Tablet. But like the much like the mouse, they probably won’t be able to change the market overnight.

Also, if Apple do adopt touch input on a PC – as the mouse has taught us – it does not mean that Apple will ultimately own the market.

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