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Some Tablet PC apps emerging

Corel Corp. previewed its forthcoming Tablet PC application, Corel Grafigo, at the annual Seybold San Francisco conference last week. Corel is one of only a handful of ISVs building an application specifically designed for Microsoft's new tablet OS.

Officials of the Ottawa-based software maker demonstrated a fully functional beta version of the product at the Seybold show. Corel Grafigo combines tools for graphics and collaboration into a common interface designed for mobile knowledge workers in an enterprise. The product allows untethered workers to collaborate and communicate via sketching and annotation tools, symbol libraries and shape recognition and handwriting technologies. The pen-based application is designed to work without a mouse or keyboard.

Basically, users can open graphics files and add handwritten notes and diagrams to those documents. Collaboration sessions are network-based.

First introduced as a prototype last June in New York, the application has matured and the company executives say it's just about ready for prime time. Its design ''draws on 15 years of graphics software experience'' and ''a solid history of supporting Microsoft in the launches of its new operating systems,'' according to Ian LeGrow, executive vice president of product strategy for Corel. Grafigo is an entirely new application engineered from the start for the new platform, he said.

According LeGrow, Grafigo was written completely in the C# language, using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET. The new application is the result of ''Corel's strategy to capture the graphical workflows of mobile knowledge workers,'' he said.

The actual launch of Corel Grafigo is scheduled for November 7, 2002, to coincide with Microsoft's launch of its Windows XP Professional Tablet PC Edition operating system.

Microsoft, which has been touting tablets for several years, is timing its own release to the expected launches of new lines of pen-based mobile computers from Toshiba, Acer, Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard. The Tablet PC edition of Windows XP will allow users to input handwritten notes in Microsoft Office and other Windows applications. But the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has also demonstrated its own Tablet PC application, called ''Journal.'' The note-taking software allows users to save handwritten files and to translate notes into text.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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