Tablets mean Business!

iPad2 will peak the tablet rush but are there convertible tablets out there that do more?

OK, so I am testing out a new Lenovo Thinkpad X201 Tablet. I wanted the ease of use of an iPad but also a powerful laptop that runs my business software too. I don’t think Microsoft SQL Server tools run on the iPad2 – yet. Maybe after Apple supports Flash, it may consider SQL Server – not. There’s always the WinAdmin iPad Edition for running Windows RDP but that’s clearly cheating – way too simple. No, I want a convertible. Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of Apple and their products. I’ve blogged on that [url=]before[/url]. But I am a Microsoft Technology Specialist so Windows 7 Professional Tablet Edition is for me. I was wise (or maybe just lazy) to have avoided Vista completely and gladly jumped onto Windows 7. It is an awesome improvement. Yes, lots of features have been moved around but that’s all part of the game. Call it the Microsoft scavenger hunt. Once you’ve worked out that you can touch the Windows Start button and type in anything, like “Device Manager”, you need search no more. In tablet-mode, my first impression was - “What? No auto-rotate?”. So I Bing’ed (or should I say Bung?) ; ok, I Googled the feature which led me to quickly visit the Lenovo Tablet Utility and there is the option called “Auto Screen Rotation”. Not sure why it’s not the default but maybe because it forces you through a calibration process when you first enable it. After that it works a treat. I am amazed at the Writing Pad in Windows 7. It trains itself on your writing habits and returns great results when translating to text. The stylus feels comfortable and is very responsive. Running with an Intel Quad-Core i7 with 4GB RAM helps, of course. You have the choice of the Writing Pad or the Touch Keyboard as input in Tablet mode but the physical keyboard is always handy with a twist if you need it. I am now in the habit of using each of the three input modes interchangeably, whatever makes sense at the time. All the tablet features are available even when in classic laptop mode. Best of both worlds. I knew I had made the right choice when teaching my first Virtual Classroom session over the internet with the Tablet. Drawing on the virtual whiteboard was always a challenge for me with the mouse but now I can draw accurately on the screen with a virtual felt-tip pen or highlighter and the students across the globe see exactly what I am drawing or writing. After a while, you realize that the mouse is often an inconvenience when you could just point straight to the screen. However, there are also many times when it feels better using the classic touch-pad or track-point and I’ll always want a physical keyboard. Again, whatever works best. It’s nice to have the choice. Yes, I think I’ve found my tablet of choice. Maybe one day I’ll get an iPad for fun but taking two tablets is just excessive and will force me to call the doctor in the morning. Sorry, couldn’t resist… Cheers, Brian.

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