It was obvious to most users of the current TabletPC that something had to change. The ones out there now are nothing more than regular old laptops with a swivel on the monitor. They are still bulky and heavy, everything a tablet should not be. So the TabletPC software is simply going to merge into a subsystem of the standard operating system. All laptops will eventually be TabletPC's. Not the original vision, but a laptop with a slightly higher degree of freedom. So it now has uses in a few additional niche areas.
Does this mean the push for the real Tablet is dead? Of course not. Microsoft knows there is a market there somewhere, even if the rest of the world cannot see it. It knows there is a demand out there for a small Pad size device that can be taken just about anywhere. It knows because Microsoft employees know. They are its own best customer. Just about every Microsoft employee has an insatiable desire to own one of these illusive tablets, because we know it is the answer to the nightmare that plagues us. We must have the device because we must be connected, always. We must be able to type. We must be able to post.
Yes, it is a sad state of affairs that almost the entire population of the Redmond campus is irrevocably addicted to online blog posting. We can't get it out of our system. We find ourselves, connected, day and night, staring at our monitors and a fresh blank input box waiting for a new inspiration to be emblazoned across the net. When we are away from it for a minute we start to sweat, our hands shake, we hallucinate all sorts of strange and bizarre things. One time when I was away from my desk, I thought I saw a group of people sitting in a meeting room, TALKING. There were these colored tubes they were using to write strange symbols on a clean white section of the wall. It was utter madness. I knew I had to get back to my desk, back to my cave and re-attach my fingers to the keyboard, back to my blog and enter something witty. It was the only thing that would stop the jitters.
Now most of us are afraid to even leave work. They bring in food most nights because they know we forget to eat, forget to go home. They've installed showers in most buildings and a support team come around in the early hours, leading teammates away to freshen up. They have to be sedated, but it wears off soon enough.
If we only had a more portable solution, then we could simple get up and walk outside. Imagine how ground breaking that would be. Someone suggested using cell phones with windows mobile software, they even dummied up a prototype for us, but the few that volunteered went mad from the tiny keys. There just was not enough satisfaction from the invariably short messages tapped using the number pads. We needed to post long, beautifully orchestrated messages, paragraphs and pages of text, embedded images and power point slides.
So we know we need the real TabletPC, if only for our own sake. To save us.