Are tablet PCs ready for their big entrance? Adopted slowly by the mainstream market, tablet PCs are expensive, clumsy and possibly too fragile for everyday computing. But according to Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner Inc., their big day is just around the corner. After test-driving the Fujitsu Siemens LifeBook T 4010 PC tablet recently, Gartner analyst Alexander Linden was surprised by the significant improvement in handwriting recognition. "Even with bad handwriting, the system often [roughly 70% of the time] recognizes words correctly at first glance," he says. Price is an issue, but less so than a few years ago. The premium on the tablet PC has come down from $300 to $100. (The LifeBook starts at $1,599.)
Gartner predicts that these technologies have a bright future as well:
Geographic searching. MetaCarta, a search engine for geographic locations, has 7.5 million place names. According to Gartner, MetaCarta's technology can provide "users with a flexible way to index and search free text documents for geographic information."
In-the-cloud security (or "clean bits"). In the next frontier for security, your telecom carrier or Internet service provider will be the wolf at your door.
Social tagging. Social tagging obtains user-created meta data from Web sites. The advantage, Gartner says, is that it can lead to statistical indexing.