Microsoft preps Tablet PC
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Aug 30, 2002
Just as government officials get accustomed to using their handheld devices
in their day-to-day work, along comes another option Microsoft Corp.'s
Set for an official Nov. 7 release, the wireless device, formally called
the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, is a marriage of the convenience associated
with a personal digital assistant and the functionality of a
laptop. And it's something that government workers may find enticing, Microsoft
representatives said at the Innovative Government Forum this week.
Hansen Information Technologies, along with Microsoft, sponsored the
Sacramento, Calif., conference (www.innovativegov.com) for state and local
The Tablet PC, Microsoft officials said, is designed to offer greater
mobility and ease of use, and provide the full power of a regular PC
including a battery life of six to eight hours, although that goal has not
been reached yet.
Pete Hayes, vice president of Microsoft's government division, said
city building officers conducting inspections can easily record a violation
on the Tablet PC, print it out and post a notice on the premises.
At a demonstration session, Ron Gode, a senior technology specialist
with Microsoft, said the device would be convenient for "road warriors,"
the business travelers or the "corridor warriors," who jump from meeting
to meeting in an office. They would also be aimed at the government, education
and health sectors.
The Windows Journal utility allows Tablet PC users using a special
stylus to write on what resembles a lined piece of paper. Users also
have the ability to erase, insert, highlight text; change the font, color
and size of the writing; and to search their files. Users can also send
snippets of documents or even Web pages via e-mail.
Gode also demonstrated how a municipal form, such as a citation or permit,
could be loaded and converted on the Tablet PC, a process that would take
a few hours. Text fields can be inserted where names, addresses, dates,
times and other information are needed, and a signature box can also be
added. Employees simply write in the information, which can then be transferred
back to the office. It maximizes the time the worker has in the field in
collecting such data, he said.