At a Glance: Tablet PC

What is it? A combination of Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet Edition with portable tablet computing devices that support handwriting input using a stylus and special LCD screen. The designs offer handwriting recognition or can store "digital ink" image bit maps.

What's the benefit? Allows rapid note-taking and document annotation without keyboard input, which means Tablet PCs can be smaller than traditional laptops.

Target Users: Field personnel, such as insurance adjusters, or knowledge workers who find pen input easier than typing.

Caveats: Digital ink files require more storage than ASCII text. Early models have a short battery life, and their screens could be brighter, testers say.

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