Post on Engadget about the new ASUS UMPC. It is interesting that the main complaint they have (and many of the comments agree) is the “lack of a QWERTY keyboard”.
When are people going to grasp that the whole point of this form factor is to not have a keyboard? Of course, people predicted doom for the iPhone because it did not have a keypad, but Apple was smart enough to point out that that was the idea. People are so locked into one way of interacting with their hardware that they cannot think beyond it. I went through the same thing when I got my first slate Tablet PC. At first, everything I tried to do seemed extremely cumbersome and awkward. I was constantly hooking up a keyboard and mouse to create eMail and documents. Then I got rid of all my other computers, and my keyboard, and my mouse, and tried to work entirely within the Tablet paradigm for a couple of months. What happened is that I discovered that how I did things on a laptop did not work well on a pure tablet. In addition, there are things that a pure tablet is good for, and there are things it is not. For example, I find the Tablet extremely useful for:
- Taking notes and leaving them in hand-written form (using OneNote)
- Brainstorming with tools like MindManager
- Reviewing and marking up documents in ink (using Word, or PDF Annotator)
- Reading eMail, and responding, if I want to send a written response (anything more than a few lines is inconvenient to do with the TIP)
- Web browsing for research (and sending results to OneNote)
- Reading eBooks
- Watching video contents
- Dictating documents (if you have good microphones, and enough processing power)
- Delivering Presentations (with the ability to annotate slides on the fly, save the annotations, and distribute the marked-up slides)
Things it is not great for:
- Creating long documents or eMail in text format.
- Creating presentations without dictating
- Anything which would normally be done with a lot of typing – again, any amount of text input using the TIP is a pain.
What it comes down to is that Tablets and UMPCs are very useful without keyboards, but not for everything. That does not mean that they should have built in keyboards – it means they should be used for what they are good for.