All broadly available Tablet PC models enable users to:
- Convert between tablet and laptop modes.
- Dock to a workstation.
- Plug in a keyboard for input.
Furthermore, all Tablet PCs support screen rotation so that applications can appear in both portrait and landscape display modes. Writing an application that takes advantage of this combination of form factors presents both challenges and opportunities.
Usability studies show that some activities are common, depending on the configuration of Tablet PC. For example, when the user has a keyboard connected in landscape mode, the usage pattern is very similar to that seen on desktops and laptops today.
In addition to the traditional tasks that users can accomplish on a portable computer, when operating Tablet PC with a tablet pen, users can also use ink to take notes about, review, and mark up a document. Additionally, because Tablet PC is a more portable form factor, users are encouraged to share their screens with others by holding the computer with one hand and pointing with the other.
These subtle differences make Tablet PC unique. Users employ Tablet PC in ways and in environments that are new to mainstream computing. The following sections discuss how you can fully exploit the potential of Tablet PC, extending usage beyond the confines of a keyboard without sacrificing user satisfaction on the desktop.