eWeek is reporting that some industry analysts see the tablet PC fading away. The rather lengthy report states that there has been a decline in the number PC makers who offer islatei PCs, which are different from iconvertiblei PCs which sport a keyboard, and that Microsoft seems to be undecided as to whether to continue to offer a high grade OS dedicated to tablet PCs.
From the eWeek News article, Analysts: Tablet PC Could Quietly Vanish:
Last week at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Seattle, Microsoft executives said they had yet to decide just how this part of the next-generation Longhorn technology would be implemented. However, the number of companies offering slate Tablet PCs has declined, industry watchers said, indicative of the fact that tablets are still too highly priced and lack the functionality of modern notebooks.
The question is whether the Tablet PC and Microsoftis Windows XP Tablet Edition OS are being subsumed back into the notebook PC, a product the Tablet once broke away from. If they are, observers wonder, is there a need for a dedicated Tablet operating system?
So far, the only answers have been forthcoming from hardware makers, many of which have moved to "convertible notebooks," which combine a keyboard and a touchscreen. These devices run the Tablet PC OS.
However, for the slate hardware platforms, the outlook with customers is somewhat muddy. Slate PCs still play an important role in vertical enterprises, such as health care, vendors say, but "knowledge workers" have asked for a keyboard to complement the pen input.
The article goes on to discuss how the perception and the hidden costs of owning the tablet PC may have contributed to its possible demise. You can read the full article at eWeek.