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Tablet PCs & LindowsOS

Imagine an Etch-A-Sketch size computer on the front of your refrigerator or maybe on the coffee table in your living room.  Anytime you want movie times, sport scores, news headlines, or need to check your email, you'll have a handy, battery-operated, wirelessly-networked computer ready for your use.  This is what the tablet computer is all about.  We've been working on a tablet computer running LindowsOS, which should be ready near the first part of the year.  (See below for how you can signup to hear about their release first.)

I wanted to share with you some of our thoughts to get your feedback on where we're headed in the tablet market.  I think you'll see our thinking about these devices may be different from others.


Coming soon - LindowsOS Tablet PC

1) Tablet computers will need to be close to $500 to be practical.

The LindowsOS Tablet PC will be around this price! Newly announced tablet computers are debuting with big price tags in the $2,000 to $3,000 range.  While there will always be some techno-elite who purchase the latest toys no matter what the price, most people can't justify such costs.  To reach the masses, tablets need to be substantially below $1,000.  Anything priced higher will simply be a novelty and something you won't want to risk spilling coffee on.

2) Tablet computers will not replace desktops or laptops (and no all-in-one type of computers).

If you've ever used a laptop's tiny screen or keyboard or fumbled with their abbreviated pointing device, you'll appreciate the old adage that bigger sometimes is better.  Cramming everything into a tiny form function (which tablets need in order to be useful) makes general computing more difficult.  Furthermore, people like keyboards.  In my book, they're essential.  Even a poor typist can outpace a fast hand writer.  A tablet computer's usefulness will be primarily used as an easily accessible informational display device.  Tablets won't be used for any intensive computing work.  Instead, it will be used to go places where desktops or expensive laptops can't, due to price or bulkiness.  Tablets will supplement desktops and laptops, not replace them, and only that if they are at a low, attractive price.

3) Handwriting recognition won't work reliably enough to be practical.

Have you ever gotten a letter from your grandmother? The cursive writing was probably impressively precise.  Now, compare that with the last letter from a friend.  If you're under 40 you probably can't remember getting one, because written letters have largely been preempted by Email messages.  So, think back to the last greeting card.  Chances are the writing was fairly poor.  That's because there's a lot less emphasis on handwriting in school and in business as much of today's communication is keyboard driven.  As a consequence, handwriting has gotten sloppier making even the most accurate software unusable.

4) Even if we could perfect handwriting recognition, people wouldn't use it.

Just because a particular technology becomes possible doesn't mean people will flock to use it.  Voice navigation is now quite good, but that doesn't mean that people are talking to their computers.  In fact, I know of virtually no one who regularly uses voice navigation, despite the fact that many predicted widespread adoption years ago.  Sometimes, it's not just because of technical challenges why people don't perform a task a certain way.  Even if hand writing on screens performed flawlessly, it doesn't mean that's what people will want to do.  People like keyboards.  People need keyboards.  They are efficient.  My kids will always be more proficient typists than writers.  Society has made a remarkable transition over the last 20 years as the computer has taken hold (and before that with the typewriter).  Younger folks have keyboard mentalities.  It's primarily 40-plus-year-olds, who grew up in handwriting eras, who believe that handwriting will play a major role in computing.  Active cursive writers are the very same people who are least likely to own computers and will be the last people to plunk down $3,000 for a tablet PC.  The LindowsOS tablet will be an affordable device priced close to $500 - which is where it needs to be to gain mass market acceptance.  It will supplement the PC and laptop already in use by providing a handy way to get quick access to information in a wireless manner. 

By using the low-cost solution that LindowsOS provides, we'll be making these devices at a much more affordable price.  If you're thinking about how you could use a tablet computer be sure and sign up for our tablet mailing list to be notified first when we ship the LindowsOS tablet. 

Sincerely,

Michael Robertson

As a special thank you to all our Insiders for helping us shape the direction of LindowsOS, in addition to the free admission to Desktop Linux Summit.  Insiders also receive a TWO-year membership to the Lindows.com "Click-N-Run Warehouse" (a $198 value) for $99.  You'll want to hurry though, as this offer ends very soon with the General Release of LindowsOS later this month.

Please visit support.lindows.com to answers questions you may have about LindowsOS or Lindows.com.

Bringing Choice to Your Computer!

Lindows.com is a consumer company that brings choice to computer users.  Lindows.com, Inc. was started by Michael Robertson, founder and former CEO of MP3.com.  LindowsOS is a modern, affordable, easy-to-use operating system that allows users access to hundreds of applications via the Click-N-Run(tm) Warehouse.  All applications in the Click-N-Run Warehouse (www.lindows.com/warehouse) are licensed on a lifetime, per-person or family basis and can be downloaded, installed and run with just one-mouse click.  LindowsOS is presently available on LindowsOS Certified Computers being offered from Lindows.com Builder partners  (www.lindows.com/builders).  The General Release of LindowsOS, available presently for download and preview to Lindows.com Insiders (www.lindows.com/signup), will be made available later this year for those wishing to install and run LindowsOS on their existing computer hardware.  The General Release version will support a wider range of computer hardware and includes unique features such as a streamlined installation process which requires no computer knowledge.  For more information see www.lindows.com/products.

LindowsOS and Lindows.com are trademarks of Lindows.com, Inc. Linux® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Microsoft® Windows operating system is a registered trademark or service mark of the Microsoft Corporation.

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