Microsoft Research $100 Digital Slate Project: Primary Medium? Paper

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reports on a Microsoft Reseach project that has a very different, low cost and low tech take on tablet computing.

A low-tech Microsoft slate for the masses

Frank McPherson and I bought use and like LiveScribe’s line of smartpens. LiveScribe’s digital pen requires paper with special microdots that its pen uses to determine X-Y positiioning. Microsoft Research’s project, however, uses ordinary writing paper on top of a digitizing surface to record position and other information. It also has a 3.5-inch touch screen display which is powered by Windows CE (the same engine that powers Windows Phone devices). The project’s goal is to conceptualize a device that costs about $100 in quantity.

Paper has been a great medium for thousands of years. Even modern electronics like the iPad can’t replace it for speed, convenience, price, and even archival retrieval. Fans of LiveScribe’s smartpens know this intuitively. I hope we see this project gain enough traction to leave the research phase and begin the road to production.

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