Windows XP Tablet PC Edition… Like Home or Pro?

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Windows XP Tablet PC Edition…  Like Home or Pro?

Editors Note:  When the Tablet PC Edition of Windows XP was first released, I remember claims that this flavor of the OS was basically Windows XP Professional with added Tablet PC functionality.  Now the new Service Pack 2 release has essentially changed the “Windows XP Tablet PC Edition” to what is now called  “Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005” and has added a significantly improved user interface and several other changes.  So what is this version of XP most like?  Windows XP Home Edition, Professional or its own unique flavor?  A recent editorial by Tech Republic visits this debate in some depth, so if you want to find out just what features XP Tablet PC Edition has before you buy a Tablet PC, read on….

Learn how Tablet PC differs from XP Home and Pro

The first time I took my new Tablet PC out in public, after the “Ooohs” and “Ahhhs,” the first question I was asked was, “Does it run on XP Home or Pro?” I said, “Er, neither. It runs XP Tablet PC Edition.” The response to that was, “Well, is it more like Home or Pro?” Good question especially for those considering buying a Tablet who have grown used to and fond of one edition or the other.

If XP Pro is a superset of Home, the Tablet PC (TPC) Edition can be seen as a superset of Pro. In other words, it includes all the features of Pro, plus more. It comes preinstalled on Tablet PCs that are made by many different hardware vendors. (I used a Toshiba Portege 3505 to write this article). You can’t purchase the operating system separately from the hardware, although the TPC OS has been made available to MSDN subscribers on CD.
It’s important for Tablet users and those considering the purchase of a Tablet to understand how the TPC Edition of XP differs from Home and Pro, and how it’s the same. Most of the literature I see about the Tablet PC focuses on the hardware convertible vs. slate, digitizer technology, battery life, and ergonomics. This article will focus on the software and its “extra” features, especially those that are critical to the enterprise user.

First look at the TPC OS
The first thing you’ll notice that’s different when you look at the Tablet PC screen is the Input Panel, which is displayed by default but can be toggled on and off using the icon on the Windows taskbar just next to the Start button…

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