Wednesday, August 25, 2004

My Slate PC/PDA/Phone

I keep waiting for PC industry to design a Tablet PC for my needs. What's being offered in the marketplace isn't getting me excited. I don't need a desktop PC that I can carry. What they forget is that they need to keep it simple and keep it cheap. Here is what is on my spec sheet:

First of all, eliminate the moving parts. We don't need a hard drive, CD or DVD. Put enough flash RAM to keep a gig or two of stuff on the device. I see the networking connections providing the primary means of bringing content into the device. Keep it light and low power.

Make the screen large enough to read but don't feel it needs to be a bulletin board. Somewhere in the 5x7" up to 8x11" inch screen size. The thing has to usable as a web browser, so support at least a 800x600 resolution. Of course it needs to be pressure-sensitive for stylus input, but I still think there has to be a better way of interacting with these devices than with handwriting recognition and chicklet keyboards.

WiFi and Blue tooth will be the way to import/update/export data and synchronize calendars and address books. Bluetooth is for my telephone headset. Phone functions are on the tablet.

Keep all edges smooth, rounded and sealed. I want to be able to through it into my backpack with my climbing gear antique it to the crag with me.

What the people who make Tablet PCs don't seem to appreciate is the is that batteries are the bane of techno-existence. I image a charging pad using the same technology found in my Sonicare toothbrush -- no electrical contacts. I never have to think about whether my toothbrush is re-charged. I'd like set the tablet down on charging pad when done for the day and the battery would be recharged without any second thoughts. I don't to snap it in. I just want to toss on the pad.

Design my tablet so I would want to crawl up in bed with it. Or at least sit in from of my TV and control the remote for my TIVO while I surf related web-sites.

Apple Computer has always been a leader in industrial design. I would have thought they would have taken the Palm PDA to the next step. But I guess they got so burned with their Newton PDA back in the 1990s, that they are now a bit gun shy. Too bad. The world needs a Slate PC/PDA for the rest of us.

Finally, don't bog me down with a full blown PC operating system. No Windows needed here. Palm's minimalist operating system, a suite of Office compatible applications and a web browser is all I need.


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