Jewish World Review Jan. 30, 2003 / 27 Shevat 5763

HP's Compaq Tablet PC a winner

By Mark Kellner | It wasn't until I did a little more homework that I found one of the more remarkable features of the Compaq Tablet PC TC1000, which, despite a tongue-twisting name, delivers a lot of performance and value for as little at $1,699: the device is based on a Transmeta Crusoe TM5800 1.0-GHz processor, which is what allows it a fairly long battery life, a good three to four hours by my rough testing.

It may not seem like much, but given the demands of a Tablet PC - a high resolution screen you can write on, super-sharp graphics display, built-in wireless (in the model I tested) - it's not bad at all, and certainly enough for most corporate meetings. (Any meeting that runs longer than four hours may require more than a tough computer battery for your personal endurance.)

The model I tested included a built-in 802.11b, or Wi-Fi (stet), radio, which let me surf the Internet at home and at my local Starbucks, among other places. Wi-Fi is a standard now, and perhaps later this year the newer, faster (yet compatible-with-earlier-models) 802.11g wireless standard will find its way into a Tablet PC. It's important, however, to understand that a Tablet PC works best with wireless built-in, since that feature makes this truly mobile device one that can communicate in a number of locations.

Other features of the new machine include a 10.4-inch TFT display featuring a wide viewing angle, hardened cover glass and NVIDIA GeForce2 Go 100 high resolution graphics; a 30 GB hard disc drive; and USB 2.0 connectivity. There's a built-in, yet removable, keyboard that seems to function quite nicely when you disengage the lock and swivel the screen around. The screen display pivots to fit either keyboard or tablet use.

Now, a 10.4-inch display may seem a throwback to earlier times for some portable users and, yes, it's a small area. But the TC1000 is designed to work with a docking station, a $300 option, and a desktop monitor. In fact, using Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, you can see items on both the built-in tablet display and an external monitor, expanding your "work area" a bit. All this ups the total cost, but, in my view, adds value to the mobile worker, which is the person for whom this machine is designed.

Of the Tablet PCs to hit the market, the TC1000 has some advantages. Besides being backed by HP, whose market position insures continued support for the device, its sleek lines, thoughtful engineering and range of options (you can up memory to 768 MB and hard disk space to 60 GB) make it a good choice for so-called "enterprise" customers: companies and government agencies that want to order a raft of these machines and deploy them across a work force.

As might be expected, this is the kind of a device that will find a home in many specialized (or "vertical," as the computer industry calls them) markets. One such is the healthcare field, HP said in a statement.

"The Compaq Tablet PC TC1000 will be a great new option for physicians at the point of care. Its unique design will make it easier for physicians to use both at their desk with the attached keyboard and in the exam room with the keyboard removed," Steven P. Schwartz, vice president of strategic alliances for vendor Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc., said in a statement released by the computer maker. "We especially like that customers who choose these devices will now be able to utilize the full resources of our solution in both places."

The product is finding other uses as well. Hollywood is due to discover the TC 1000 at a celebrity outing on Thursday, January 30. Cast members from "The West Wing," "The Practice," "Charmed" and "Seventh Heaven" are set to join one of the more impressive turn outs of entertainment industry executives to welcome the TC 1000 -- and a host of other new HP products - to town.

Meanwhile here in Washington, the TC 1000 is being prepped for a series of Small Business Administration matchmaking conferences designed to share more procurement opportunities with smaller firms. HP is the premier sponsor using their computer technology at all of those meetings.

With such a lineup, should the Compaq Tablet PC TC 1000 be in your portfolio. Yes, if you value comfort, portability and expandability. More details can be found at

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JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.

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