Oh where, oh where is my Tablet PC?

Check out SimulConsult CEO Michael Segal’s article on medical use of tablet PCs at MD Net Guide. Mickey is a diehard proponent of tablet PCs in medicine. He even had a sport coat custom manufactured to fit his Motion LS800, which is about the closest to the right form factor he’s seen. The article lays out what’s needed in a mid-sized device for medical use, basically a hybrid of the iPhone and existing tablets:

  • Phone –for communications on the go
  • Big screen and small pen –fingers are great, but for handwriting recognition you really need a pen. The screen should fit in a white coat pocket
  • Thin –like the iPhone, so it’s easy to carry
  • Powerful –so it can be docked and used with a full-sized keyboard and screen
  • Inexpensive –which means no hefty monthly contracts to drive up the cost of ownership

I used to have a Tablet PC, too, a Motion Computing M1400. My motivation was a little different than Mickey’s. After a horrible customer service experience with an HP laptop, I decided to buy a computer from a company where I knew the CEO. (Motion founder and CEO Scott Eckert and I worked together in consulting 20 years ago.) The Tablet was pretty nifty and was especially good for use on an airplane while seated in coach. For office use I propped the Tablet up in its stand and connected it to a big monitor plus a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

The Tablet was a great conversation starter and fit my self-image. It was especially useful for taking notes in meetings and I liked being able to look down at the screen and then up at the person I was speaking with –very much like a clipboard.

Mickey thinks it will take “another generation of innovative chips, power-saving features, and bets on the right form factor before we see significant mobile computing in medicine.” He also doesn’t think such innovation will come from Apple, because “Steve Jobs would not be caught dead wearing a jacket or carrying a purse.” Google’s Android seems a more likely bet.

October 21, 2008

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