The best argument for Tablet PCs and UMPCs is not the ability to write on the screen. The best argument is the combination of mobility and power, being able to use a Tablet PC in the following two configurations:
Carried in your pocket when you are mobile: This can be seen in photos of a Motion Computing LS800 in a sport jacket pocket. As wide-range wireless connectivity spreads, the mobility use case for Tablets will become obvious. Tablets are well suited for use on-the-go, able to turn off and on in seconds using Sleep mode.
Docked to a large screen when you are back at your desk: The LS800 can dock to a 22 inch screen and drive the monitor at its native 1680 x 1050 resolution. You can use the ports on the dock and a USB hub to attach all your favorite desktop conveniences: mouse, webcam, ethernet Web access, speakers, disk drives and even a classic IBM clicky keyboard using a special USB adaptor.
Writing on a Tablet is not quite as convenient as using a keyboard and a mouse, but writing is preferable in several situations:
When carrying a keyboard is a bother or when setting up a keyboard is a problem, such as when standing and talking with others.
When it is important to be seen as fully engaged in the conversation: While writing on a slate you can look directly at the other person without a screen between you and them, which is particularly important in the medical context.
This page was begun in November 2002, within days of the release of Windows XP Tablet Edition. The specifications suggested then, updated for hardware as of 2006, are here.
Copyright © 2011 Mickey Segal. If you have other good points to add please let us know.