So, we left Tabby getting a Vista upgrade in the hope that drivers for things like hardware buttons etc. would work more reliably. The hardware buttons upgraded fine (I had experienced some difficulties during beta testing on cleans installs) but had to reinstall drivers for both the onboard audio and wireless (good job I've got a spare LAN cable and port on the router).
The Acer uses keyboard shortcuts for volume up/down and screen brightness up/down and, as with the beta, the bright controls work fine (Function button + Left/Right arrows) but the volume controls (Function + Up/Down) show the volume adjustment on an overlay on screen but do not affect the actual system volume. Presumably this will be due to the new audio architecture in Vista so no big deal. What I am pleased about is that the dedicated hardware button to toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth works perfectly (at least it does now the wireless drivers are in place).
All Vista updates have been installed and is was then time to turn to Office 2007 and its updates – a painless install.
As I am on the OneCare Perpetual beta this has been installed as the anti-malware software of choice – we'll see how it performs.
Now that the core is ready I can get down to the serious business of ensuring that everything is set up "just so" and get back to having fun with the Tablet. It's been strange having it back for two days and not once yet flipping the screen and inking away but this is all to come again. Due to the timescales involved I've not yet used the RTM version of OneNote 2007 with Ink so I've got some interesting times ahead as I reacquaint myself with everything.
convert c: /FS:NTFS
This is a shame as the PC is perfectly able to run Vista but you will obviously not get Aero due to having onboard graphics which are not DX9 compliant.
As such, I am checking how well the upgrade to Vista goes with all of the hardware button drivers etc. installed on XP first. While I was beta testing certain drivers would not install correctly on a clean install of Vista so I'll check that when I get home tonight.
Next up will be to get Office 2007 installed.
So, the big news last week was that Dell is finally coming out to play with the Tablet PC crowd. The announcement was made in a video posted to the Direct 2 Dell blog in which Jeff Clarke (Senior VP) said of the forthcoming Latitude Tablet PC "it is designed for the education, health care, and corporate marketplace" and simply signs off with "we're coming".
Reaction has, rather predictably, been huge as many have said that – just like with IBM/Lenovo – a Dell Tablet really legitimises the form factor. Some have said that Dell has taken too long to join the party (which Dell say has been due to waiting for Vista and the Intel ULV Santa Rosa platform) with something that looks rather like a Gateway device, while others think that this may finally draw the Tablet out of its "niche market".
Although Dell have been saying that they may be boosting sales with retail availablility (Via GottaBeMobile) the sheer fact that they are targeting their Tablet towards education, health care, and the corporate marketplace does not bode well for the future.
Dell is one of the most instantly recognisable PC brands from the consumer perspective and a concerted push could really raise the profile of Tablets in the consumer market. Dell are well versed in offering relatively cheap hardware to consumers, no doubt as they have a large economy of scale but will they be able to apply the same ethos to Tablets? Will they even want to? With a name like theirs they could easily dominate the consumer market for Tablets and drive competition which, in turn, would drive down prices. That Dell has waited so long to enter the Tablet space at all leads me to think that they will not be willing to take to the risk to dive in and lead the way. Whilst I really hope they do only time will tell.
"You get Vista Home Premium, which includes Windows Aero, Windows Media Center, tablet, and instant search functionality".
"The Axiotron ModBook features WACOM Penabled hardware for true pen input and is fully compatible with Apple's Inkwell, a Mac OS X Tiger feature that provides system level handwriting and gesture recognition to all Mac applications. Drawing and writing directly on the screen provides for a uniquely intuitive user experience and its slim, slate-style form factor makes the ModBook the ultimate companion for mobile users, artists, professionals and students."
"At this stage we have no firm plans to launch anywhere else globally. Does this mean we'll launch in the UK? I can't tell you when [it will launch] for sure and I can't even necessarily tell you if."
Now that WinFS is no longer part of Vista we have also lost the extended file attributes such as notes and keywords - these would also have been an ideal place for Inking.
But it is not just the lack of Ink support that shows a lack of support for Tablets.
While there is a tendancy for new Tablet models to have 14 inch screens there are a lot of devices with 12 inch screens or less where the screen resolution is 1024x768, or rather 768 x 1024 in portrait mode which is how slates are going to be by default.
As part of my Beta testing I have been going though each icon on the Start Menu and in the Control Panel in turn and kicking the tyres of each application/feature. I arrived at the Windows Easy Transfer icon and tapped only to be greeted by the error "Windows Easy Transfer requires a screen resolution of 800x600 or greater". Why force a Tablet user to change their screen orientation just to use this tool? Why can the UI not adapt itself and reduce it's width by 32 pixels?
When you consider that Microsoft is supposed to be championing the Tablet form factor you cannot help but be left with the opinion that they are falling far short of the mark.