Tablet PCs: the first wave

After several false starts, it looks as though pen computing is here to stay, following the release of Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and the first generation of Tablet PC hardware. Check out our reviews to see what early adopters can expect.

Conventional computer technology never managed to deliver the much-predicted ‘paperless office’, but the latest development might just have something going for it: simulating the pen and paper experience on the computer, with added intelligence.

Of course, pen computing has been tried several times before (remember Windows for Pen Computing, or the GRiDpad?), but Microsoft’s Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is surely the best effort yet.

That’s not to say that everything’s perfect in the pen computing world all of a sudden: handwriting recognition with XP Tablet PC Edition can be a hit-and-miss affair, and manufacturers of the first generation of Tablet PCs have issues to address in terms of system weight, battery life, ergonomics and performance.

But there’s little doubt that pen computing, in the guise of the Tablet PC, is now here to stay. Check out the reviews below to see what we think of the OS, and which of the first wave of devices we rate the highest.