Tablet PC — lovable, but let’s be real

I love the Tablet PC as a platform. But in light of some recent postings about it, I have to say one thing: application software that takes advantage of the pen is still extremely rare. There’s a current ad from Microsoft showing a literary agent marking up a book proposal on the Tablet PC (actually, it’s the book proposal for Carter Beats The Devil, which was already an established hit before the Tablet PC saw the light of day, but maybe hot-shot literary agents are on early access). The ad shows a ho-hum book proposal “beefed up” with standard proof-reading marks, and the implication is clearly that one is editing the original text. The ability to use proofer’s marks on a text document is a clear killer app for millions of customers, as is the ability to handwrite long pieces of work. You can’t edit text with inked proofmarks on a Tablet PC with existing software. You can’t write continuous texts on a Tablet PC with existing software. These limitations are strictly application limitations and I fully expect both abilities to be available within a year or two, but new software will need to be written to exploit it.