Pen-based computing died a cold hard death once consumers embraced touch, but following on the moderate success of Microsoft's Surface Pro line, Toshiba seems to think there may really be an appetite for pens again.
The problem, though, has been price. A Surface Pro 3 stripped bare will still set you back US$800 and the unit really doesn't hit its stride until you spend at least a grand for it, with US$1,300 needed to make it a true gem.
Pen Is Mightier technology
Enter Toshiba's new Encore 2 Write tablets. Available as a 10.1-inch tab for US$400 or an 8-inch tab for US$350, the Encore 2 Write tablet's key differentiator in an ocean of Bay Trail M tablets will be the pens. And we're not talking those cheap eraser nub capacitive touch pens you see ham-fisted tyro's using on their iPads either. Toshiba's TruPen uses Wacom-licensed digitizer and stylus technology with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity.
Toshiba didn't just throw a pen into the Encore 2 Write and call it a day though. The company said it put a lot of thought into making the tablets the ultimate note taking devices. Thus Toshiba created three Windows 8.1 Modern apps (remember those?) to help make the Encore 2 Write become what you want on the conference room table as your boss drones on for an hour.
TruNote lets you jot down notes, draw, and make markups on photos and graphics.
TruCapture lets you use the tablet's built-in 8MP camera to snap images of the useless stuff your boss jots down on the whiteboard during a meeting and then automatically straightens the image, corrects the perspective, exposure and sharpens it for use in TruNote. That's where you can jot down comments such as "makes no sense!!!" "factually incorrect" or "how exactly did he become my boss?" on it.
Finally TruRecorder lets you record the meeting and automatically identifies each speaker and puts them on his or her own track so you can easily skip the part where your boss talks and jump to the section where your co-worker starts to snore so you can make her a ring-tone from it.
Both the 8-inch and 10.1-inch tablets use Atom CPUs, feature 2GB of RAM, and pack 64GB of storage. Additional storage can be added through the MicroSD slot. Both also support Micro HDMI and Micro USB 2.0. The tablets are also rated for roughly 11 hours of use on a charge and will be available soon after CES ends.
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