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back to article New Tosh 'droid slabs include Newton-like scrawl-pad: We try it out

Among Toshiba’s Haswell-packed laptop frenzy in London yesterday were a few new ten-inch tablets: three Android and one Windows 8 slate for business. The new Android 4.2 fondleslabs adopt the Excite brandname, as used in the US, and kick off with the Excite Pure, an Nvidia Tegra 3-powered tablet which has 1GB RAM, 16GB of on- …

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Is there a Doctor in the house?

To be fair, at least from the screenshot I had trouble in reading your writing in the test, so the software didn't do too bad perhaps. Maybe could be ok as long as it's not given to any doctors or people with similarly incomprehensible handwriting to use?

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Jah

Samsung S Note

Sammy's S Note seems much better.

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Anonymous Coward

Easy to see that Win8...

...is the serious product here. Not only is the UI excellent for touch, but even the device itself looks rugged and professional; as opposed to that wannaba Android toy.

Make no mistake, Win8 is going to be BIG with enterprise customers who need products that integrate well, not the half-assed randomness that comes from a plethora of Android vendors.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Easy to see that Win8...

I was aware that Microsoft engages in astroturfing, but I had no idea they were so lacking in subtlety.

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Bronze badge

Re: Easy to see that Win8...

Ever used a Win7 or Win8 penable? Comparing a Samsung Note 10.1 to a Samsung Ativ500 should be easily done and they use the same technology. Win8 wins out as the more mature system (10+ years of development) both in HWR and the on board software

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Easy to see that Win8...

Ah, so when you can't think of a good counter argument (because there isn't one) you engage in ad hominems.

Want to know what Android will look like in 5 years? Look at Win8 today. As ever, the F/OSS crowd can't innovate, only copy and fragment. That's why (right now) Android looks like a rip-off of iOS.

The only competitor to Win8 is iOS but with the quality and level of design being put into the Win8 devices now, that will become less of an issue. There will still be a place for Android in bottom-end, cheap, plastic tat. A bit like now really as there are zero high-end, ready-for-enterprise Android devices. Just as there are zero, high-end, ready-for-enterprise Linux laptops or desktops.

Professional organisations need professional products.

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Windows

Re: Easy to see that Win8...

"Professional organisations need professional products. Bear that in mind and say 'No' to Windows 8"

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Re: Easy to see that Win8...

These would be the organisations who have so far been buying Win8 products in their droves, so much so that supply can't meet demand I take it?

From talking to our IT people at work, the only reason for buying Microsoft kit at all currently is the requirements of the existing back-end to talk to it, and for that they're quite happy on Win7. It is getting some business for WinPhone on that side of things, but the rise of BYOD on one side and the slip of Windows towards Linux and other server-side solutions is also eroding it a bit on the both.

Where there's a useful application for touch (in whatever guise) then market forces will come in and it'll get adopted (think your travelling engineer or salesman probably), but where it's a gimmick or an attempts at forced migration then it won't (or at least it'll get resisted and complained about). For most drivers of Outlook, PowerPoint and Excel then rodents and keyboards are fine.

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Re: Easy to see that Win8...

Oh my. We seem to have an anti-Eadon now too.

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Bronze badge

Re: Easy to see that Win8...

Windows tablet pc are a lot more that the touch only toys from Apple and most Androids. Win7 and Win8 penables show up in companies. Win7 more than 8 since

a) That is what most companies use right now on the clients and smart companies run a "one client OS" policy

b) Win7 on a penable is "good enough" for most tasks since touch is the unused part in companies

Win8 has benefits but since all Win7 units can run Win8 an upgrade is easily done when W8 becomes the standard from 2014 on (next round of leasing replacement)

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Meh

"... the quite brilliant handwriting recognition on Windows 8 ..."

Sorry, but no. After having tested Windows 8 handwriting recognition on several occasions, I can tell you that brilliant doesn't apply. In fact, recognition is a bit of a stretch.

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Bronze badge

Re: "... the quite brilliant handwriting recognition on Windows 8 ..."

Then either:

+ Your handwriting is REALLY lousy

+ The demo-unit you tested needs a wipe of the "learning" data

Windows HWR (7 and 8) is quite ready for everyday use

(Penned on my EP121)

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Anonymous Coward

350 - 500 squid

hahahahahahahahahaha

wait, there's more: "exclusively from currys", hahahahahahahahaaha

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Childcatcher

USB... 2?

The Pure may seem a bit so-what, but it does come with a useful array of ports including USB 2.0...

I don't get why USB3 hasn't seen more widespread adoption. I do like the idea of handwriting recognition, though this beast has been out there for a long time (it is essentially OCR on the fly). How interesting that voice recognition seems to have made more progress recently while this has not. After all, there is an entire class of processor (GPUs) devoted to handling graphics.

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Re: USB... 2?

>How interesting that voice recognition seems to have made more progress recently while this has not.

English speaking people can usually understand my speech very easily. My handwriting is near illegible!

Okay, other theory:

Speech and handwriting recognition benefit from being done on a remote server where they can be refined by the input of many, many users. in recent years there have been far more people using voice-recognition - on their phones - than have been using handwriting recognition.

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Re: USB... 2?

Actually the speech recognition engine build into Windows and the commercial Dragon Natural work fine offline. One of the big benefits of Intel/AMD based devices since 3G coverage can be spotty. The algorithms (Hidden Markov) have not changed much but processor power has and is a main benefit for recognition. That's why the ARM units use servers not the "many speakers" approach. That has no benefit since, like HWR, speech recognition works better with training to a special user and his accent / speech pattern.

Give the Win7/8 engine a spin, it's quite useable

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Re: USB... 2?

Handwriting is a lot slower than typing. I maintain that speaking is faster than typing, although at my best I wasn't the world's fastest typist, and speaking rather slowly and carefully improves speech recognition's success rate.

As for USB 3 - I daresay that on cheaper devices there's a standard "chipset", designed a while ago, with USB 2 in the package deal. In this context, probably all Android devices count as "cheaper". Also, putting in USB 3 probably costs extra for licensing some patents.

Granted, that doesn't explain devices that have one USB 3 port and a couple of USB 2. Or maybe it does, since those often are tablet and keyboard, and the keyboard gets USB 2 if it's cheaper.

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Re: USB... 2?

HWR is slower than typing on a good keyboard. But try that while standing around or balancing a notebook on your knees and suddenly the pen is mightier than the key.

Speach is nice and there is some very good Windows software for it from the Build in all the Way to Dragon Natural. But speach is "loud" and babbling to your computer while in a meeting / seminar is not the way to take notes.

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Is that a pen/sylus, or is it a power pin?

If that is a power pin, it is a HORRIBLE design. It should be a stubby, right-angle affair that is less obtrusive, and to make the tablet less unwieldy when mounted on after-market/3rd-party rotating/tiltingg stands. I hope it is just an oddly-placed writing stylus for photo opportunty reasons, and not the power pin and attendant wiring.

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Graffiti

For all of Palm's many faults, Graffiti did rock. I used it for years. If someone had coupled it with word-prediction (like the excellent stuff SwiftKey does) then I would have thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

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Re: Graffiti

You can get Graffiti on Android. It does predictive text.

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Meh

Recognition.

...no match for the quite brilliant handwriting recognition on Windows 8 that, miraculously, makes sense of most hurriedly written notes.

I have to say that MS do seem to be a bit good at that sort of thing.

I used to use WinMo mobile devices with MS's best kept secret, Voice Commander, installed. Its voice recognition and readback, running standalone on an antique ARM processor with very limited memory, was light years ahead of what Google achieve now with all the technological advances since the millenium to play with.

How I wish that they'd port that to Android, so I could have handsfree dialling that picked the right name and number most of the time rather than once in a blue moon and only then if the wind's in the right direction like Android does. Insult upon injury here is that MS VC would read back what it had (usually correctly) selected for confirmation whereas Android's system just goes and dials the (usually wrong) number.

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Anonymous Coward

Colour me very interested

I've had a Galaxy Note 10.1 since they came out and it's a fantastic piece of kit. I now couldn't live without a stylus and the multi-window operation. The only thing lacking is the super-high res (although tbh I haven't even missed that despite mostly working with pdfs and doing annotation) so if this is full wacom at that resolution it appears to be a bit of a bargain.

As it also has sd-storage (another vital for me) the only thing I'd want to is how easy these are going to be to root. Else I'll be looking at the next gen Note.

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