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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Portability and Media 

Is Microsoft Downsizing the Tablet PC?

The major advantage of "old" media, beyond our familiarity with its formats, is its easy portability. As I mentioned yesterday, I'd love to see a decent portable reader hit the market. And apparently Bill Gates would like to see this too.

Grab: The new hybrid Tablet/eBook device may be Microsoft's attempt to reinvigorate interest in the Tablet. The new system allegedly is a pet project of Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

Remember the Rocketbook (pictured)? 10 years ago, I had the chance to work with a Rocketbook. Loved it, even though it was a little too heavy, and only delivered black and white text. But the size felt right, and the intuitive page turning system definitely worked. I read a couple of novels on the Rocketbook, at night, in bed.

My smartphone, which has all of the capability of a portable reader (web access, email access, and a lot of bells and whistles) is small and portable. But the screen size is about 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches. Not workable for me, with my age-related eyesight fade.

Here's what I'd like to see: A reader that's the size of a paperback book, weighing less than 2 pounds (hopefully about 1 pound), with an integrated screen cover that easily moves out of the way. Four color capability, intuitive downloading and page turning. Wireless access. Email and web access. A built in RSS-feed reader.

That's probably not what Microsoft can deliver--yet. But I'll probably give a downsized Tablet PC a try anyway.

My ideal reader continues to be a four page piece of four color digital paper, with built in wireless access, and enough memory to store a reasonable amount of text and graphics. Something I can slide into my briefcase, roll up as necessary.

Once we get to that stage, arguments about the validity of "old" media as a content provider ought to have withered away.


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