As of Thursday, the fate of the Tablet PC is out of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates hands.
Unlike one of Gates previous pet projects, the ill-fated Microsoft "Bob" social-computing interface, the success or failure of the Tablet is dependent on the PC vendors and ISVs (independent software vendors) writing the apps that will run on top of Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.
About 10 consumer PC vendors are expected to trot out their wares at the New York City Tablet PC unveiling. At least two dozen software vendors—including Microsofts own Office division—will be showing versions of their Tablet wares.
Some ISVs are looking to broaden the "information worker" target that Microsoft has set for the devices. Others see vertical markets as a prime Tablet market.
Among the software partners Microsoft has touted as Tablet PC backers are Adobe, Autodesk, FranklinCovey, Groove Networks, LexisNexis and WebEx.
Here is a sampling of some of the other software that will be available for Tablets out of the gate:
- Alias/Wavefronts SketchBook. This SGI company, which brought the world the 3-D technology behind flicks like "Lord of the Rings," has built a "digital sketchbook" that will let Tablet users sketch, annotate images and present their work "whenever creativity strikes."
- Corels Grafigo, a .Net Framework-based app the allows users to draw sketches "on the fly" that can be turned into "technically precise" graphical images. These images can be annotated and shared via collaborative workflow.
- Groove Networks digital ink-enabled chat tool for Groove workspace.
- Iteration Softwares real-time reporting platform. Think business intelligence for wireless devices.
- Keylogixs ActiveDocs document automation/annotation package.
- Pen&Internets Advanced Notes Recognition technology, which converts pages of handwritten notes into formatted text and charts in a variety of existing document formats.
- Proscapes CRM application for sales and marketing professionals. The app will allow users to create multimedia sales presentations and provide reports to track and monitor salesforce productivity.
- ScanSofts digital-imaging, speech-recognition developer tools, and text-to-speech products.
- Zinios digital-magazine reader technology, aimed at allowing publishers to deliver non-paper versions of their products, and readers to view and annotate them on Tablet devices. Zinio says Microsofts ePeriodicals e-publishing software—due to be unveiled at the Tablet launch, sources say—wont compete with Zinios Reader.