Operating systems and vendors

Microsoft Main article: Microsoft Tablet PC Following Windows for Pen Computing, Microsoft has been developing support for tablets running Windows under the Microsoft Tablet PC name.[54] According to a 2001 Microsoft definition[55] of the term, "Microsoft Tablet PCs" are pen-based, fully functional x86 PCs with handwriting and voice recognition functionality. Tablet PCs use the same hardware as normal laptops but add support for pen input. For specialized support for pen input, Microsoft released Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Today there is no tablet specific version of Windows but instead support is built in to both Home and Business versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. Tablets running Windows get the added functionality of using the touchscreen for mouse input, hand writing recognition, and gesture support. Following Tablet PC, Microsoft announced the UMPC initiative in 2006 which brought Windows tablets to a smaller, touch-centric form factor. This was relaunched in 2010 as Slate PC, to promote tablets running Windows 7, ahead of Apple's iPad launch.[56][57] Slate PCs are expected to benefit from mobile hardware advances derived from the success of the netbooks. While many tablet manufacterurs are moving to the ARM architecture with lighter operating systems, Microsoft has stood firm to Windows.[58][59][60][61] Microsoft has announced Windows 8 which will have the new Metro user interface suited to touchscreen devices such as tablets. .[62] For the first time, Windows will be able to run the ARM architecture because of Windows RT which can run on processors from NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments[63][64] Microsoft has also launched their own tablet called the Microsoft Surface. Prior to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, Windows CE was used to target smart phones in the form of Windows Phone 7. Windows Phone 8 uses the same code as Windows 8. Also, some manufacturers, however, still have shown prototypes of Windows CE-based tablets running a custom shell.[65] [edit]Linux One early implementation of a Linux tablet was the ProGear by FrontPath. The ProGear used a Transmeta chip and a resistive digitizer. The ProGear initially came with a version of Slackware Linux, but could later be bought with Windows 98. Because these computers are general purpose IBM PC compatible machines, they can run many different operating systems. However, the device is no longer for sale and FrontPath has ceased operations. It is im ortant to note that many touch screen sub-notebook computers can run any of several Linux distributions with little customization. X.org now supports screen rotation and tablet input through Wacom drivers, and handwriting recognition software from both the Qt-based Qtopia and GTK+-based Internet Tablet OS provide promising free and open source systems for future development. KDE's Plasma Active is graphical environments for tablet.[66] Open source note taking software in Linux includes applications such as Xournal (which supports PDF file annotation), Gournal (a Gnome based note taking application), and the Java-based Jarnal (which supports handwriting recognition as a built-in function). Before the advent of the aforementioned software, many users had to rely on on-screen keyboards and alternative text input methods like Dasher. There is a stand alone handwriting recognition program available, CellWriter, which requires users to write letters separately in a grid. A number of Linux based OS projects are dedicated to tablet PCs, but many desktop distributions now have tablet-friendly interfaces allowing the full set of desktop features on the smaller devices. Since all these are open source, they are freely available and can be run or ported to devices that conform to the tablet PC design. Maemo (rebranded MeeGo in 2010), a Debian Linux based graphical user environment, was developed for the Nokia Internet Tablet devices (770, N800, N810 & N900). It is currently in generation 5, and has a vast array of applications available in both official and user supported repositories. Ubuntu since version 11.04 has used the tablet-friendly Unity UI, and many other distributions (such as Fedora) use the also tablet-friendly Gnome shell (which can also be installed in Ubuntu if preferred). Previously the Ubuntu Netbook Remix edition was one of the only linux distibutions offering a tablet interface with all the applications and features of a desktop distribution, but this has been phased out with the expansion of Unity to the desktop. A large number of distributions now have touchscreen support of some kind, even if their interfaces are not well suited to touch operation. Canonical has hinted that Ubuntu will be available on tablets, as well as phones and smart televisions, by 2014.[67] TabletKiosk currently offers a hybrid digitizer / touch device running openSUSE Linux. It is the first device with this feature to support Linux.