A year after Microsoft Corp. introduced a Tablet PC edition of Windows XP, hardware makers are trying to strike the right balance between weight, computing power, battery life and price.
Last month's m-health conference (see main story) featured the first Tablet Challenge, inspired by the live-audience Clinical Documentation Challenge at the TEPR show.
FujitsuPC Corp. of Japan demonstrated a "thin client" computer-one with no hard drive or operating system that runs programs off a wireless network-that weighs just under two pounds. However, battery life for this $1,600 machine, marketed by Dell, is a relatively anemic three hours.
Canadian battery specialist Electrovaya has created the Scribbler, a Tablet PC that runs for eight and a half hours. However, the battery extended-life and internal hardware, including one model with biometric security, boosts the weight to nearly four pounds. The retail price is more than $2,700.
Hitachi offers VisionPlate, a thin client for $1,500 to $1,800 that has a port for Compact Flash memory cards in lieu of a hard drive. It weighs two and a half pounds and has a battery life of only two to three hours, but the battery can remain in standby mode for up to 55 hours.