The tablet furry

Everyone nowadays is in a urge to release a tablet or a device with a touch screen. Some years back, Microsoft tried this, Apple too, but both of them failed miserably… No support, lack of involvement from hardware vendors, whatever they call it, people did not buy it. Only a niche part of the market bought the idea and start developing dedicated devices for various applications using the slate concept. A very expensive market with prices that put any home user interested at a distance.

However, now, after the iPad “revolution”, suddenly everyone claim that they were thinking at this already, everyone promise a better platform and a better solution, something that will change forever the way computers are used. HP, Apple, Google are just few of them. Many to come soon.

Anyway, sometime last year I did bought a tablet, the famous TC1100, a toy I wanted to buy for many years but I was never prepare to spent too much on it. I got it somewhere around 150+ euros, working.

I like the form factor, I like the design, I like everything except… is getting hotter after a while. I wish could have a light sensor so the brightness can be adjusted automatically, a better cooling and just a little bit lighter. Is not that heavy: at 1.3 Kg is lighter than many laptops out there but after 30 minutes of holding it with one hand, you’ll start to feel tired.

Another thing I missed a lot was the lack of real touch screen. A dual input technology could have been so great on this device! I would like something like a combination of capacitive touch screen (iPod Touch?) and Wacom digitizer (the default input method)…

I managed to solve some of the “issues”: I replaced the HDD with an “in-house” SSD solution (using an industrial grade CF and a CF to IDE adapter), I’ve customized my original Windows XP tablet distribution, cutting down everything that is not required, installed also a small software to allow me to lower down the voltage on CPU and set some throttling… I can now squeeze a 4 hours out from my old battery (almost 1 hour more then running on HDD), taking less then 600 Mb on disk, use less then 150 Mb with everything loaded, boot up in less then 10 seconds and under 50 degrees on the CPU :)

I tried several different OS: Mac OS, Ubuntu 9.10, Ubuntu 9.04, Windows 7, Windows XP… I like the most Windows 7, I really love the virtual keyboard and the handwrite recognition and many other things, is just a bit “heavier” and you can see the slowness when you play a movie from utube or a HD movie.

Anyway, I have on order a Samsung SSD and a touch screen kit. I am planning to install Windows 7 on SSD, trim it and tune it as much as possible trying to make it run very fast. Also, I am planning to mod the slate to add the touch panel and enable the multitouch feature. This will make the text input very convenient as I can type with both hands while holding the tablet ;-).

I found somewhere a new front screen with bezel and I intend to use it to mod it adding the front touch screen. I just hope the look will still be acceptable :-D.


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