Friday, February 10, 2006

TC1100 Discontinued - death of a mate

Like any major loss, the decision made by HP to discontinue its TC1100 Tablet PC reverberated throughout the net with certain sadness. Even some of my favourite bloggers like Rob Busway, and James Kendrick were moved enough to mention the event online. Since becoming an owner of the device myself in late 2005 the news of it’s elimination from the HP line was devastating.

The little TC1100 hybrid is a Tablet of note. It carries itself with sophistication and a certain funkiness that few convertibles can match. It’s light, practical and profoundly efficient at getting daily tasks completed. For those of you that own the TC1100 I know that you’ll empathize with my note; still, while we lament this decision we must also look forward to yet another notebook-looking tablet PC by HP. We seem to have frightened the major vendors into some form of aesthetic compliance, maybe one of the new IEEE standards, that requires all notebooks to be of a certain shape, color, dimension and ergonomic line.

If only iPod flavored Tablet PC’s would grace the market place then perhaps the little teenee’s would all queue for hours to preorder our preferred PCB – the Tablet, only to later mark them up and post them on Ebay to the anticipating public. We could release them in numbered batches, like works of art, and hold Christies type auctions, by invitation only of course, and sell Tablet PC to the rich and famous – leaving the average geek only the ability to download PDF’s and stick them on his wall!

…hold on someone’s pinging me on IM…

I’m back!

Bloody TC1100! It’s too small to call a laptop and too big to call a PDA. As I went into Tablet mode to ink to my mate on messenger I seemed to have ripped the hinge off the keyboard…oops. I went to erase some text I’d hand written and scratched the glass on the screen – obviously forgetting that the standard TC1100 pen didn’t ship with an eraser on top but instead with a metal capped tether mount that really cut grooves in Tablet screens.

Guess I’ll speak to the wife in the morning and get some early budgetary approval for a new TC4200. I’ll miss you TC1100, but I think 3-months is long enough!


Lawrence Folland said...

I have had an HP TC1100 for over two years now and have been really happy with it. I've been known as a bit of a Tablet PC evangelist at the university I work for. I'm very disappointed that HP has decided not to continue with this form factor. I knew they were going this way when I saw the new tc4200. I've used a demo unit for a bit and while it's a fine contender in the convertible tablet arena, I wouldn't choose it over the Thinkpad X41 Tablet or some of the other units.

I have had some problems with my keyboard/slate interface (I just got it back from service under warranty), but all-in-all I love the design. I would be uncomfortable with having a pure slate since I use my tablet at meetings all the time, where I need the keyboard to take text notes (yes, I can use the handwriting, etc. but I still don't find that fast enough and accurate enough for my needs). But when I want to use it in slate mode, I can just grab'n'go.

I see tablet PCs as a "lifestyle device" - I use it for work, of course (they paid for it!) with the original justification that I need to update network settings and job tracking when I go to various people's offices. But I also use it for home to hold my MP3s and photos. For MP3s, I have a tape deck adapter and a remote presenter media device, which allows me to play music on my commute to work, or when we travel - it's great! For photos, I download my pictures to the tablet and then have a portable photo album wherever I go. I often pass the tablet around in slate mode at family gatherings as a photo album. It's perfect.

The other big reason I like slate mode, is to use it just like a book - I'll lay in bed and read it (web pages, PDF documentation, Microsoft Reader, etc.) I believe this is the big use that Microsoft has failed to promote for the growth of tablets. I have technical manuals for almost every type of system that I work with. I even have manuals for my camera, PDA, etc - all available any time.

So, I'm not sure what I'll replace my unit if and when the time comes. Come December, the 3-year warranty is up. Once it dies I'll need to find something new. At this point, I don't know what it would be. I've looked at the Electrovaya and one of my staff has one (yes, I convinced management that my 3 staff all needed a tablet), but I'm not really happy with the keyboard mechanics.

Hugo Ortega said...

Hi Lawrence,

Firstly let me thank you for being such a vocal advocate of my favourite piece of PCB, the Tablet PC. I think that the first wave of Tablet PC awareness in Australia is people like us, the early adopters. Whilst I find it hard to talk about Tablet PC, and early adoption, in the same breath, I do believe that this thing (Tablet) is only just coming of age.

Obviously my TC1100 article was a little “tongue in cheek”. Having said that I will miss the TC1100 form factor until an equivalently practical replacement graces our shelves. I will not buy a TC4200 since, like yourself, I feel the X41 is a much better option. I am not a big fan of convertibles for first time Tablet PC owners, as they never learn to master the pen. What I do know however is that a hybrid/convertible is the most efficient and rewarding hardware experience to be had. I think the TC1100 was one of my favourite devices available on the market; like you, I take it to bed and have I have also been known to walk into the men’s room with it too! LOL

I am pretty excited about getting my hands on the Toshiba hybrid that was released at this years CES in Las Vegas: It looks like a real notebook killer, which can’t be a bad thing for Tablet PC. I’ll get a look at it soon hopefully and blog about it. I think it may suit your requirments.

Keep me posted on any developments. Watch for more Tablet PC news soon – we just got VISTA!

PS. Your family barbecues sound like a real geeky affair, what with Tablet PC’s being bantered about as digital photo albums!!! You’re too cool. LOL


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