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Ten years after: HP's primordial Windows XP tablet versus Surface Pro 3

Jon Phillips | June 17, 2014
The HP Compaq TC1100 is only 10 years old, but in mobile computing years, it's laughably archaic.

But, hey, this is why we love what iOS did for mobility in 2007. Virtual keyboards that enable capacitive-touch finger typing are revolutionary for a reason: Because stylus-driven text-entry is a complete pain in the ass.

A common Windows DNA

Without a doubt, Apple hardware gave life to the modern mobile revolution. The first iPhone gave us capacitive touch and easy finger typing, and the first iPad gave us instant-on tablet computing in a package that we could defensibly call thin and light.

But we'd all be bad historians if we didn't recognize Microsoft's honorable (if failed) efforts to make tablet computing work five years before Apple gave it a go. And when you compare the TC1100 to the Surface Pro 3, you have to admire the consistency of Microsoft's vision. 

It took the company 10 years, but Microsoft finally has the 2-in-1 productivity machine it always dreamed of. The Surface Pro 3 comes with two effective keyboards (one virtual, one hardware); a pen that delivers the best that digital ink has to offer; and a desktop that runs all the applications in the Windows universe. 

It sounds a lot like the TC1100. But the 2014 version actually works. This is what you get when hardware tech finally catches up to a solid, if over-ambitious design brief.


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