Exec labels Tablet PC a budget booster

In an effort to convince senior management and CEOs to extend the IT budget, visiting Microsoft exec Dick Brass is betting that after just a week of using the new Tablet PC, "CEOs will be convinced to buy, and IT managers will get the budget to buy a few".

Speaking at the first official launch of the "technological evolution" on Thursday in Sydney, Brass, vice president, emerging technologies, Microsoft US, said he is more than convinced that companies can be persuaded to buy the Tablet PC.

"This is the biggest advance in functionality in a decade or more. While we may have been able to convince customers to upgrade for smaller functionality issues, now, the Tablet PC is a great reason to upgrade," Brass said.

The Tablet PC, a long-term pet project of Microsoft boss Bill Gates, combines the use of Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system with the capability to use a digital pen in addition to a keyboard or mouse.

At the New York launch, Gates said the launch of the Tablet PC "marks an exciting new era of mobile computing that is only limited by the imagination of its users".

"The Tablet PC is a great example of how computers are adapting to how people really work, whether they're taking notes in a meeting, collaborating wirelessly with colleagues or reading on screen. We're just scratching the surface of what is possible," Gates said.

Brass said he has been using the Tablet PC for a year and it has positively changed the way in which he works.

While he admits that the handwriting recognition may not yet be 100 per cent, Brass said it is in the high 90s with languages including English, French, German, Japanese, Chinese and Korean recognised.

Brass said with a Tablet PC running Office XP, users will be able to incorporate handwriting into everyday tasks such as creating e-mail, annotating documents and marking up PowerPoint presentations.

Handwriting is captured as rich digital ink for immediate or later manipulation, including reformatting and editing.

A spokesperson from Toshiba told Computerworld a number of Tablet PC units have been purchased and have already been shipped.

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