No. of Recommendations: 7
Hey, I got a letter published in the Dec 2 issue of Business Week, p 12. That's a first.

Its a bit critical of Microsoft's new tablet computer, but so far the lights are still on here and my MS software is still running (I think). Just paranoid.

Anyway, wish me luck.

Text submitted follows. It got edited into two paragraphs, but is quite similar.

(Always willing to share an opinion)

Re: Tablet Computing
Thanks for the excellent article on tablet computers (BW, Nov 11, p 60), but you missed a key point. A major market exists for all those computer users who still cannot type. The PC allows them some input using the mouse, but that input is meager compared to what is possible by typing. I have not seen figures, but estimate at most a quarter of the population at large can type at a minimal rate of say 20 words/minute (2 characters per second). A well designed tablet computer has excellent potential for the masses.
Success requires adequate character recognition software, i.e., the ability to decipher handwriting and convert it to typewritten text. This would allow handwritten memos, and the ability to fill out forms and spreadsheets by hand on a tablet. Yes, images of handwriting can be stored and transmitted fax style, but without character recognition, the very powerful text and numerical processing power of the PC cannot be used. Many features are lost.
Character recognition accuracy of six nines (99.9999% error free) is the goal for a truly functional machine. Your article implies Microsoft is struggling to achieve one nine. At that rate, one character in ten will be in error. Typists will find it faster to type in data than correct machine errors. Such a product has little chance of success. The machine becomes marginally useful only at three nines.
Its too bad we much rely on Microsoft to produce this important new product. Their reputation for shipping software with loads of bugs means the first ones will almost certainly be stinkers. Wake me in five years when they actually have a product.
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