The article first appeared in Tom's Hard News Email Newsletter
The concept of flat panel PC technology is not a new one. In the early 1980s, computer manufacturer, GRID, introduced one of the first tablet-oriented PCs. Unfortunately, the lack of a robust operating system held the technology down to the point where it was almost not worth using. With the advances in portable computing technology, both in the PDA and the operating system department, tablet PC technology is once again alive and well. Microsoft foresees tablet PC technology as one very important vehicle in achieving their overall strategy of information anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Still, it is clear that advancements in handwriting recognition, voice recognition and overall user interface input must first occur in order to make these tablet PCs truly worthwhile to use. If using a tablet PC is more complicated and more difficult to use than using a standard laptop, then why not use a standard laptop?
Pace Blade has the unique distinction of being one of the first companies who has designed a new tablet PC to re-ignite the tablet PC market. PaceBlade's unique blend of technology and aesthetics might be enough to overcome an operating system that is not quite up to snuff. We at THG still believe that much attention to detail must be paid to both the handwriting recognition and the speech recognition input facilities of the PC in order for the tablet to be a true success. Other aesthetics, such as weight, battery life and size, must also fall within certain parameters in order for the tablet PC device to be truly useful. Upon inspection, it would appear that PaceBlade has made significant strides in the design of the PaceBook; however, as you will see in this review, tablet PC technology still may not be completely ready for prime time.