Learn about Tablet PCs
What is a Tablet PC, Exactly?
A Tablet PC is a personal computer that functions just like a standard laptop, with one important difference: In addition to using a keyboard to input data, you can use a digital pen (also know as a "stylus") to write on the screen. The pen also performs all the functions of a mouse. This is the "tablet" part of the Tablet PC. You are able to take notes, fill out forms, collect signatures (or doodle for that matter!) just like you would using a pen and paper.
Will a Tablet PC do everything my current laptop or desktop will do?
Provided you choose a Tablet with similar specifications (i.e., processor, memory, etc.), the answer is yes. Many people use their Tablet PC as a replacement for their existing desktop or laptop. Many manufacturers offer accessories (e.g., docking stations) that make this easy to do.
I just bought a laptop, why should I buy a Tablet PC now?
In the words of Scott Leforce, President of Realty World of Northern California and Nevada, "Give your laptop to your kids because you don't need it anymore; it slows you down."
A Tablet PC allows you to transform your business in many ways. Many of our customers have re-sold their laptops, reserved them as backup machines, or given them to their support staff.
What operating system does a Tablet PC use?
All major Tablet PC brands us Windows XP and Windows Vista, the same operating system you likely use on your current laptop or desktop machine. Again, the only difference in the computing experience is the additional input device, the digital pen.
What is the difference between a "convertible" and "slate" Tablet?
These are terms used to describe the two types of Tablets currently on the market. "Slate" Tablets do not have a permanently attached keyboard (though all slate manufacturers offer detachable keyboard as accessories). The slate's principal advantage is that it most closely replicates the pad of paper and pen experience. Slates are also generally the lightest Tablets and built to maximize mobility. The REDtablet™ is an example of a slate Tablet.
"Convertible" Tablets (also sometimes called "convertible notebooks") have permanently attached keyboard and look just like standard laptops. The keyboards on thee models swivel so that the keyboard folds down on top of the keyboard so that the Tablet can be used in a "slate" like mode. Convertible Tablets offer flexibility and familiarity, but are generally heavier than pure "slate" models. The REDconvertible™ is an example of a convertible Tablet.
Can I run all of my favorite software on a Tablet PC?
Yes. Microsoft Office even has pen features built into it. Any program you run on your current PC can be run on a Tablet PC.
What kind of processor does a Tablet PC use?
Most major manufacturers use Intel chipsets, either Pentium or Celeron, just as you would find with standard laptops.
What about memory and hard drive space on Tablet PCs?
The amount of memory and hard drive space is entirely up to you and your budget. Most manufactures offer a full range of options. We recommend a minimum of 2.0 GB of memory (more is better) and an 80 GB hard drive for most computing needs.
Are Tablet PCs for real? Are they a gadget that will be gone in a year?
It is first important to remember that a Tablet PC—unlike items that fall into the "tech toy" category—is first and foremost a PC. That is, it's a computer just like any other you've owned. So you don't have to worry about the machine falling out of fashion.
Tablet PCs have been around for years. They got a major boost in 2002 when Microsoft released the first version of Windows XP that was optimized for the Tablet. Tablets have rapidly grown in popularity since that time, though they were at first primarily marketed vertically — that is, to specific industries such as health care and education.
In the past year, more manufacturers have begun to offer Tablets and have begun to mass-market the machines to the general public. Perhaps you have seen television ads for the Dell or Lenovo Tablets or seen a Tablet at Best Buy.
Today, the biggest names in hardware offer Tablets, including Dell, IBM/Lenovo, Toshiba, Gateway, Acer, Fujitsu and many others.
I am a Mac lover. Does Apple have any plans for a Tablet PC?
There is widespread speculation that Apple will enter the Tablet market in the near future. They have filed for several patents that indicate this is the case. But as of right now, the company has made no formal announcement as to their intentions.
Does a Tablet PC convert my handwriting to text? Does it really work?
Yes. Handwriting to text conversion is built into the Windows XP operating system. It is not 100% accurate, but most users find that it functions remarkably well — even those with "less than perfect" penmanship. Over time, as you use the pen to write on the Tablet, the operating system recognizes your script and improves the accuracy.
Is it hard to learn how to use the pen?
Almost all users take to the pen quickly. It is, after all, a familiar means of recording information. However, it will take you some time for you to get completely comfortable using the pen for functions for which you would otherwise use a mouse or keyboard. Most users find that after a week or two, using the pen is second nature. And of course, you do always have a keyboard and mouse to fall back on with the REDconvertible™
How much do Tablet PCs weigh?
Tablets weigh about the same as a standard laptop, and in some cases are much lighter, which is a major plus for you if you spend a lot of time in the field. The REDtablet™ PC, for example, is just 3.13 pounds!
How much do Tablet PCs cost?
Tablet PCs are available at numerous price points. Generally speaking, a Tablet will cost you about 20%-25% more than a standard laptop with comparable specs, though the gap is shrinking. Tablets from major manufacturers start at just over $1,000 and run to over $3,000 for high-end models. The higher the quality and durability, the higher the cost, similar to desktop computers.
Are digital signatures on a Tablet PC legal?
Yes. Digital signatures are supported by an established body of Federal and state law. In year 2000, the federal government enacted the Electronic Signatures in the Global and National Commerce Act (commonly referred to as the "E-Sign Act"). The E-Sign Act created a universal standard for contracts, signatures and records created by electronic means. The most important aspect of the E-Sign Act is that "a signature, contract, or other record relating to such transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is in electronic format. In other words, electronic signatures and contracts are legally enforceable.
Doesn't signing documents electronically expose me to more risk of fraud?
No, quite the contrary. First of all, if you purchase Real Estate Dashboard® software for your Tablet, you will be able to take advantage of security features that will take you far beyond the level of confidence you currently have with paper. Generally speaking, an electronic environment is more secure than dealing with paper. In fact, some E&O insurance carriers now offer discounts for companies that employ digital document management.