Gates: Next-Generation Mobile Computing Is Here

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 11, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a major milestone for the long-held industry vision of the next-generation mobile business PC as leading computer companies unveiled their Tablet PC prototypes. Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft, showcased several new prototype machines and software applications during his keynote address at COMDEX Fall 2001 in Las Vegas. The Tablet PC, based on the Microsoft® Windows®
XP Tablet PC Edition operating system, represents an evolution of laptop PCs and will deliver unprecedented new enhancements in both hardware and software capabilities.

“With the Tablet PC, the industry is entering a new phase of mobile computing that will make the power of a fully functional PC more flexible and accessible than ever before,” Gates said. “Tablet PCs will greatly extend the capabilities of today’s laptop computers, allowing users to interact with their computer in exciting new ways and significantly increase the value of the PC in the workplace.”

The Tablet PC combines power and portability, featuring battery life that will approach a full day of undocked usage, a high-speed microprocessor, support for wireless connectivity, a high-resolution display and a weight of as little as 2.5 pounds. Tablet PCs extend today’s portable PC functionality with pen and speech capabilities, allowing the user to leverage the power of the PC in new ways such as taking handwritten notes in meetings for later reference or conversion to text, annotating documents with digital ink, and reading electronically.

Computer Companies Committed to the Tablet PC

At Comdex, this week, leading computer manufacturers including Acer Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Fujitsu PC Corp., Tatung Company and Toshiba America Information Systems have introduced new concepts of the Tablet PC. Microsoft also announced that FIC, NEC Corporation, PAD Products Inc., Tatung Company and ViewSonic Corp. have joined the list of companies supporting the Tablet PC. In addition, Microsoft announced that microprocessor company VIA Technologies Inc. has joined Intel Corp. and Transmeta Corp. in backing the Tablet PC industry initiative.

As part of Gates’ keynote presentation, Jeff Raikes, group vice president of the Business Productivity Group at Microsoft, demonstrated new prototype machines from a number of manufacturers that will be launching their models in the second half of 2002. New pen-based input capabilities have driven a number of innovative hardware designs in the form factor. Some, such as the Acer and Fujitsu prototypes, will feature attached keyboards and can be configured in the traditional laptop “clamshell” mode. Other design concepts from Compaq, FIC, Fujitsu, Tatung Company and Toshiba focus on detachable keyboard designs. All Tablet PCs are designed to be primary business PCs and will support docked configuration for use at a workstation, undocked configuration for keyboard entry, and tablet configuration for pen- and speech-based entry.

OEM System Manufacturers

Building on the Tablet PC Platform

Software for the Tablet PC also took center stage in tonight’s announcements, as major independent software vendors announced their support for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition when it ships in 2002. Microsoft introduced a new note-taking and content manipulation utility, called Journal, which will ship with every version of Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. The company also announced that its Office XP suite would offer extensions that would support the Tablet PC, bringing the power of digital ink to key applications such as the Outlook® messaging and collaboration client, Word and the PowerPoint®
presentation graphics program. With a Tablet PC and Office XP, users will be able to incorporate the comfort of handwriting into everyday tasks such as creating e-mail, annotating word documents and marking up presentations in PowerPoint.

Among the ISVs, Groove Networks showcased a new secure collaboration solution based on the Tablet PC that will allow users to work together on projects in real time, sharing comments in digital ink. A new prototype design application displayed by Autodesk Inc. will allow Tablet PC users to manipulate intricate design diagrams with digital pen and ink. A number of other leading companies shared their plans to build applications for the Tablet PC. Below is a full list of companies that have committed to building applications for the Tablet PC. More details on these companies can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/fallcomdex01/default.asp .

  • Adobe Systems Incorporated (network publishing solutions)

  • Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. (mobile clinical automation software for physicians)

  • Amicore (physician office software and services)

  • Autodesk Inc. (design solutions)

  • Corel Corporation (graphics and business productivity applications)

  • Groove Networks (collaboration solutions)

  • LexisNexis (decision support solutions)

  • Microsoft Office XP (business productivity suite)

  • Microsoft Visio®
    (business diagramming solution)

  • Zinio Systems Inc. (digital magazine technology and services)

About the Tablet PC

Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition enables next-generation personal computers to be optimized for mobility, convenience, reduced weight and comfort. The Tablet PC operating system enables Windows-based applications to take advantage of various input modes, such as pen- and voice-based data. With software developed and optimized by Microsoft for the new platform, the Tablet PC can function as a sheet of paper. Handwriting is captured as rich digital ink for immediate or later manipulation, including reformatting and editing. The link between the pen input process and a wide range of Windows-based applications will give users new ways in which to collaborate, communicate and bring their PCs to bear on new tasks (such as annotating and updating a document on the fly and then wirelessly transmitting the finished version). Its high-resolution display makes it ideal for immersive reading and rich multimedia applications.

The Tablet PC’s full Windows XP capability also will enable it to be a user’s primary computer. Utilizing a high-performance x86-compatible chip architecture, the Tablet PC takes advantage of key technology improvements in high-resolution, low-power LCDs; efficient batteries; wireless connectivity; and data storage to deliver a rich set of functionality that adds the dimension of pen input. Tablet PCs from all OEMs will embody the same historic vision of this product: to deliver a more natural and intuitive computing experience without sacrificing performance or portability.

Tablet PCs are expected to be available in 2002. Final pricing and availability will be determined by the individual systems manufacturers.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows, Outlook, PowerPoint and Visio are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.