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November 5, 2005

Bill Gates’ favorite reporter and the Motion Computing LS800

Mike Wendland is a Technology Columnist for the Detroit Free Press and he’s also Bill Gates’ “favorite reporter”:

Not to be a name dropper, but when Bill Gates spotted me last week at a news conference in Ann Arbor his face broke into a big grin and he greeted me with something to the effect of “Hey, Mike, my favorite reporter!”

Alas, it wasn’t my journalistic skills that brought the compliment. It was the machine I was using to ply my trade: a small, slate-like computer using the Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC operating system.

And Bill Gates loves tablets.

The Tablet PC I was using last week is the LS800 from Motion Computing, one of a dozen or so computer makers who put out Tablet versions.

And it (like all of Motion Computing’s tablets) is a slate, not a convertible that has a screen that swivels up to reveal a keyboard.

The unit will also work by wireless Bluetooth with an optional detached keyboard.

The LS800 is the tiniest of the slates made by Motion, weighing just 2.2 pounds and about the size of a thin paperback book — 8.94 inches by 6.60 inches by 0.87 inches thick. A button lets you have the screen appear in vertical or horizontal formats.

I think of it as a stenographer’s pad sized machine and it sounds great for a reporter.

The LS800 and all Tablets come with a built-in microphone. On the LS800, though, is a multidirectional array microphone design and configurable acoustics software called Speak Anywhere that maximizes the sound quality. I recorded the news briefing with Gates, for example. He was two seats to my right around a conference table and the mic picked up every word just fine.

Battery life ran about three hours for me, using the OneNote application to record Gates and then, as I wrote the story of his news conference, to transcribe the interview.

Well, the battery life could use some work, but that might defeat the form factor. More details by following the link. The LS800 product page has more and there are also other reviews of the LS800 at Mike Wo’s, ZDNet UK, Craig Pringle, and TabletSwitcher. To net it out, there are some complaints about heat and that the screen is too small, but most folks are intrigued with the form factor though even Mike says his favorite is actually the 15 inch Motion 1400 Tablet.

Posted at 8:01 pm. Filed under Companies, Motion Computing, Notebook, Tablet PC

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