Peter Loforte - What's cool about the upcoming Tablet PC software?

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Peter Loforte, general manager of the Tablet PC team, shows us what is cool about the upcoming Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 software update (code-named "Lone Star.")

This is a free update and will automatically come with the upcoming Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Much more from the Tablet PC team will be coming up on Channel9.

This 10-minute video will give you a great idea of what working with a Tablet PC is like (and Peter talks a bit about developer opportunities on the Tablet PC as well).

The Tablet PC that Peter is using is a HP TC1100 that converts from a laptop-style configuration (which is how he's using it here) to a slate-style configuration. The keyboard detaches on this model. Some Tablet PCs have keyboards permanently attached that "convert" from slate mode, to laptop mode. Others, like the NEC, are pure slates (they don't have keyboards attached at all, although you can always plug one in via a USB port).



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The Discussion

  • User profile image
    Very nice, now i almost feel like the need of having a tablet pc !!!

    Hum ...
  • User profile image
  • User profile image
    Very good demonstration of how the recognizer works. Great job!
  • User profile image
    I loved this demo ... Now I wonder how well Lonestar will run on my first gen HP tablet. The Transmeta chip has it collecting dust cause it is painfully slow for me. If only I had one of the new HP one's with the centrino ... This is a HUGE improvement though in my eyes. What about the log-in screen? Peter didn't show anything to make logging in with Ink easier. Anything there to make it better?
  • User profile image
    Lenn, yes, you can install the Technical Preview (included in Windows XP Service Pack 2 RC1) on your TC1000. Peter Rysavy frequently blogs about using Lonestar on his TC1000, which Monica is now using in the classroom.

    First generation Tablet PCs are a bit on the slow side, once Lonestar Preview is added Hey, I can say that cause I use one with a Transmetta CPU too. Smiley People new to Tablet PCs will be happier with faster hardware, but people who already have a Tablet will be impressed with the new user experience.
  • User profile image
    Thanks for the scoop.  I Will load it up and give it a try and see how it goes.  Sounds like it is usable but a little pokey like it always was Wink

    I got a Sony VAIO with a centrino about 6 months ago and ever since then have been much happier with that proc.  Wish I could upgrade the TC1000 chip. 

    Thanks for the tips.
  • User profile image
    The key with the TC1000, like anything technically, is more RAM. The TC1000 default 256-MB SDRAM is painfully slow. But played with a local friends machine for a bit (he was brave enough to install SP2 RC1, and before that the Comdex alpha) and the TC1000 ran actually halfway decent; not stellar, but at least things got a passing grade. Lonestar is quite a bit more CPU heavy, so the more power the better. Solution for increased shelf-life: Add RAM to the TC1000, expandable up to 768 MB.

    Centrino and now headlong into Dothan, with AMD in rear-view mirror. With Efficeon trying to stay in the picture. Smiley
  • User profile image

    This is one of the best video I saw in Channel9.-) I still want more information for developers. Good work! And will Longhorn has some/all such features?

  • User profile image
    Analise wrote:
    Very nice, now i almost feel like the need of having a tablet pc !!!

    Hum ...

    Yes, you should get one, they are awesome! Trust me!
  • User profile image
    Hey, Lenn, you had your HP for 6 months, the Sony is now 6 months old... that means you're ready for a new Tablet PC, right? Smiley We have to get you to stop using non-pen enabled notebooks Wink

    Just to clarify for anyone who might be thinking about a Tablet PC... the current generation of convertible Tablet PCs use today's fastest Intel Pentium M processors with Intel Centrino Technology. HP and FIC used slower processors for their first product attempts and have since changed over to Intel.
  • User profile image
    Bruce, this is just the first of a series of videos on the Tablet PC. 

    If you'd like to see sneak peaks at the mobile platform direction of Longhorn Paul Thurrott has screenshots.

    Here are some blog posts about using a Tablet PC as a primary development machine:

    Developing with a Tablet PC - Loren - 4/29/2004

    Program FOR Tablets? Program ON a Tablet? - Julia 4/29/2004

    Using A Tablet PC For Development - Maurauderz 4/30/2004

    Editing source code on a Tablet - Loren - 5/15/2004

    And of course, you can go to a Microsoft Tablet PC Developer Training Session for hands-on lab.
  • User profile image

    Loved the video! I wanted to ask a question about a peculiar, particular problem I am having with my Tablet. Apologies if this is the wrong place to ask:

    Hello and I hope everyone is having a wonderful day. My Acer Travelmate 110 keyboard somehow remapped itself and I am not sure how or why. I want to change it back. What happens now is the following: pressing the quotes keys gives me an accented e and the slash key gives me an e with the accent in the other direction. I have tried the regional and language settings and they indicate my keyboard should be set up for English US.

    Would deeply appreciate any suggestions.
  • User profile image
    arjunsingh wrote:

    My Acer Travelmate 110 keyboard somehow remapped itself...

    You might try -- there's a pretty good user base there.
  • User profile image
    Damn you!!! Smiley You just made the convertible Tablet PC a top priority on my purchase list.  My wife is going to either kill me or take it.

    Thanks for the demo.  The new features look great and very user friendly.
  • User profile image
    Where can I find some more info about the xml manifest files you can create to customise the recognition for each app?
  • User profile image
    (no comment, I don't get this forum formatting approach Wink sorry if I am illegible but, preview nd post give sout different things! And I AM a web designer so don't get me started! If you have th epatience to read this uglily formatted post, thanks)====================== Say whatever you want about Newton and all the bad press it got, but Newton in 1997 had already most of this, HWR and GUI wise!
    (read me all, I am not here to start a religious war, I am just eager for more, and you might understand why if you read me)

    And almost a better handwriting approach:
    no specific pop-up field (ok, you wrote on a smaller screen so you could hold it closer and write smaller) so you wrote where you needed entry (not -like the ugly previous approach, as Peter pointed it-, a bottom level field, that would make you loose context and eye contact with your imput field- but not also a popping up writing area... Nothing wrong with the latter, it just feels "slapped" onto a normal system, not part of it)

    The correction system was easier: no need to hit the pre-recognized word in typeset letter, you could just correct over the actual word, in handwritten mode or in "character" mode, as Peter is so proud to demonstrate Wink

    I have a Newton and still use it as of today.
    (yes, better than palmtops for entries and notes taking, and better than a lapotop to bring to meetings, while travellign light)
    it has 8 megs of RAM (8 megs!) and 8 megs of "HD" (flash memory) and runs on an 162MHz ARM processor (!) The things you can achieve with that are quite impressive indeed (WiFi web browsing, wireless calendar sync, easy note taking, use of CF cards so i can actually store 512megs of data if I want! etc)
    And the HWR IS good. I can't help be not be surprised that a machine witht the capacity of a Tablet PC can achieve better, because: was it really a challenge?

    Ok, newton as a platform is passé, and integration into corporate workflow is not there (MS Word, Excel etc... But I will not create a nicely formatted memo or a multimedia presentation on the road, I wil write TEXT, my thoughts are easily represented with TEXT!)
    And no need to mention which company invented (and killed) newton, it is totally beside my point. I talk about a user and about a willign consumer of these comign products. I want them, I want the mcool, I want them amazing.

    So I am glad and favorably impressed to see the progress that Tablets are making. But

    1) I cannot decently call "innovation" what is long overdue and that any person with a semi decent sense of what users expect would have thought out ages ago

    2) it could be neat to recognize the work done by predecessors and build on top of it, be challenged by it

    3) I do expect more from Microsoft, please, you have the best resources in the world, try and "wow" us, not give us the feeling of "at last, they gave us what we expected and knew we wanted for ages (what took them so long?)"

    (Well, for my 2 cents:
    basically, a tablet should be thought out much differently than just a Windows standard interface with some pen based shortcuts, some HWR input capacity and a couple of tablet-use oriented apps slapped on top of it.

    Guys, Windows is a _platform_, it is not just the ubiquitous Start menu! (To my eyes, Windows 3.1 would have been better suited for Tablet use, with its easier choices (groups of "boutons" for "actions" = apps and "content" = docs)
    -end of I-am-an-armchair-GUI-guru-rant-)

    Surprise us, make us tick and go "wow".
    Ok, maybe there is a concept that doesn't live well side-by-side with innovation, it is "marketing"?

    make us go forth and change the future, not just repeat the past with incremental improvement.
  • User profile image

    This is a common complaint "we've seen this before."

    The problem is, you've seen it on an OS that doesn't let you run the software you want to run.

    That's the major innovation in the Tablet PC. It +is+ Windows XP.

    Want to run Adobe Illustrator? You can.

    Want to run Napster? You can.

    Want to run Quicken? You can.


    That was impossible to do on Palm Pilots, or on Newtons, etc. (or, even, previous Microsoft pen efforts).

  • User profile image


    It was hard work but I read your whole post, ugly format and all Smiley

    Incremental improvement is where it's at.  Most people (those willing to shell out $$$ for products and software) are not willing to start from scratch every few years.  You criticize the implementation as "Slapped onto a normal system".  This is what we want.  We want to use the apps we have paid hard cash for.  We don't want to learn a new way of doing EVERYTHING.  We just want to interact with what we do know in a more natural way.

  • User profile image
    argh I can't get the video to work - I get this error message:

    Windows Media Player cannot play the file because the specified protocol is not supported. In the Open URL dialog try opening the file using a different transport protocol (for example, "http:" or "rtsp:".

  • User profile image
    What browser, operating system are you using? Do you have the latest Windows Media player?
  • User profile image

    Okay, Peter is using a HP TC1100.  As another TC1100 user I also recognize that Peter is not using HP's pen.  What pen is he using?
     Just curious as I'm looking at getting a pen with the built-in eraser.

  • User profile image
    Hmm, I think he just grabbed a pen that was lying around on his table. He has something like nine Tablet PCs in his office. This pen looks like the one that NEC included with its Tablet PCs. I don't believe that one had an eraser.

    Wacom sells a variety of pens, though.
  • User profile image
    Thanks for the quick reply.  Very nice site!
  • User profile image
  • User profile image
    xbtest wrote:
    Say whatever you want about Newton and all the bad press it got, but Newton in 1997 had already most of this, HWR and GUI wise

    That is what makes this effort even more impressing.
    Efter Newton tried natural handwriting recognition - and failed miserably - not too many wanted to follow down that path.

    Doonesbury 28th August 1993:

    [Mike gets a phone call]

    - Mike? Bellows Here!
    - Mr Bellows! Good to hear from you, Sir!
    - Listen, Mike, I Might have a small project
      I can Throw your way...
    - That's great Sir!
    - How about a working lunch? When are your free?
    - Well, Let me see... How about today Sir?
    - No can do. I've got a one o'clock with BDIPPL at
      Cafe FWIBLOB.
    - Hey, You got a digital assistant too, Sir?

    As far as I can remember this was one of the reasons Palm decided to let the user learn "Grafitti" instead of the user teaching the unit. I'm very impressed by this demo. It looks like they've done some hard work improving it.

  • User profile image
    scobleizer wrote:
    What browser, operating system are you using? Do you have the latest Windows Media player?

    I'm using XP Pro with SP2 RC1 - I have Windows Media Player 9 with all the latest patches. It works on other pc's here, so I just had to watch it on one of those Smiley
  • User profile image
    Very cool. But will the clever stuff be properly internationalised? Recognising 50 US states is great if you live in the US, not so useful if you live in Australia ...
  • User profile image
    Hi Peter,

    I have tried many times to be a Beta tester for the version SDK 1.7. But until now, I still can not down load it. Could you upload it somewhere for 3 days, so I can download it, please.

  • User profile image

    Just in case anyone else is looking for the SDK....

    You can download the Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition Development Kit 1.7 from

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