Silicon Insights: The Tablet PC Returns

Ironically, the most vocal critic of the tablet PC is Jeff Hawkins. Hawkins was an early Grid engineer, who today is the most important visionary in personal digital assistants.

His early failures at Grid have helped him form his vision for the Palm PDA and allowed him to almost single-handedly create the PDA industry.

But in a recent Comdex keynote address, Hawkins predicted the failure of Microsoft's tablet PC and said he wished "the tablet PC would just go away."

As a veteran of the early pen computing wars, he has seen it from the inside and apparently does not share the same optimism that Gates does for this mobile computing platform.

It is too early to tell if the Gates' tablet PC will eventually be successful. But this time it is being back by a very powerful industry visionary in Gates, and supported by the clout and muscle of his company.

It has become a major area of focus for industry watchers and various interested parties, since the success or failure of the tablet PC this time lies solely in the hands of Gates and his partners and their ability to deliver on a vision and promise for what they believe is the next mobile computing platform.

Tim Bajarin is a consultant and leading computer industry analyst and futurist, covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. He's based in Campbell, Calif.

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