Newton-sized Tablet PC

by Todd Ogasawara

Tom's Hardware has a brief report and photo of a 15 ounce Newton-sized device running Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition at:

Ruby, the ultra compact Tablet PC

The photo shows a device with thumb keyboard at the bottom and what looks like a Wacom type digitizing stylus on the table surface.

The device looks a bit top heavy to use the thumb keyboard comfortably.
But, I can see people leaning it against the edge of a table to use the thumb keyboard.

I would probably consider buying it.
But, then again, I also bought the Apple Newton and various versions of the Windows CE based Handheld PC :-)
The now gone and forgotten Handheld PC form factor with a clamshell design disappeared because people thought it was too big.
It looks like the smaller PDA (Palm OS and Pocket PC type devices) are now also seeing declining sales as people buy multifunction phones, iPods, and portable game consoles.
While this Newton-sized Tablet PC has obvious vertical market applications, I wonder if the general public will be interested in a size rejected as too larger in the past.

Would you buy a Newton-sized Tablet PC? I think I would if it were reasonably priced (under $1000... way under :-)


2005-04-18 01:03:20
Probably not
Like most people, I was impressed at the OQO ( when I first saw it. Then when I read the spec, saw the price and started thinking about what it might be good for, I was skeptical.

These things promise normal desktop/laptop capabilities in a portable large PDA package. The problem is they are unusable for running alot of applications such as word processing where the keyboard doesn't facilitate normal typing. The screen lurches between too little resolution for browsing the internet and too fine for reading text. Can you imagine trying to do development work with it? Battery life is laughable. The thing isn't instant on, you have to wait for the slow hard drive, memory and processor to get the thing booted. Then you need to buy a special case for it and it isn't pocketable anyway. There are usually an entourage of extra bits you have to carry around with it too, to make it usable. I won't mention the failure rate of these devices either, but lots of OQO owners are onto their third unit.

Very exciting and sexy but practically useless. I would stick to a PDA for mobile needs and use a slimline laptop like a Sony X505 (if you can afford it) or a Sharp MM20 or in fact, anything else from here - - for normal desktop work.

2005-04-18 05:58:33
Probably not
OTOH for some people it might be ideal.

A PDA is useless for any typing, a laptop may be too large.
We deployed an application on PDAs for service repairmen of a large customer earlier this year. While they're quite happy to no longer have to use paper work orders and being able to have people get up to date workorders whenever they log in (instead of having to call the office for their next destination) the tiny screen and having to use a soft keyboard are limiting.
A laptop is too large for them (they already have to lug around toolboxes and spare parts), a device like this might have been ideal (depending on pricepoint).

While a niche market, it is a lucrative market.

2005-04-19 02:51:03
My, it's a decade since the Newton was discontinued and these things are getting uglier every day. Where's Newton elegancy and utilitarian functionality (both in hw & sw)? Hmmm, better save for Zaurus and run NOS on that ;)