HP Puts Twist on Tablet PC

The Compaq Tablet PC TC1000 features a detachable keyboard.

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Thursday will unveil its version of the Tablet PC, which distinguishes itself with a detachable keyboard (click here to check out the new device).

The Compaq Tablet PC TC1000 runs Microsoft Corp.s Tablet PC operating system, which will have its long-awaited coming-out party on Thursday. The gist of the Tablet PC system is that it combines pen-based handheld computing and speech recognition with a traditional PC operating system, enabling users to scribble notes directly onto applications and integrate text and voice.

Vendors announcing Tablet PC-based devices include HP, Acer Inc., Fujitsu PC Corp., Viewsonic Corp. and Toshiba America Information Systems.

With Compaqs device, users can use an electronic pen on the devices screen to enter data and annotate documents. And when they would rather type, they can snap on the keyboard.

The Compaq Tablet PC also comes with a docking station that lets users view applications in either portrait or landscape mode. The device still works in tablet mode while in the docking station so users can rotate the screen and take notes. And the operating systems "grab-and-go" feature lets users remove the device safely from the docking station without having to shut it down.

"Weve really created something that will adapt to the way people work more than a standard notebook, " said Ted Clark, vice president of the new notebooks division in HPs Personal Systems Group in Houston.

The Compaq Tablet PC features a 10.4-inch TFT display, which is covered with a protective glass layer.

"Although it sounds strange that we think glass is durable, it is a nice protective surface over the LCD," Clark said, noting that some competitors use a Mylar covering instead. "Its not going to wear like Mylar would."

He added, though, that the Tablet PC isnt designed for field workers, who tend to subject their handheld devices to severe wear and tear.

"Were not suggesting that this is a highly ruggedized device," Clark said.

The tablet is .8-inch thick and weighs 3 pounds. It runs a Transmeta Crusoe TM5800 1GHz processor and includes optional support for the 802.11b WLAN protocol.

Available directly from HP and through resellers, the Compaq Tablet PC TC1000 costs $1,699 without the wireless option and $1,799 with it.