Walking the floor at CeBIT Australia I dropped into the Motion Computing stand. There is a lot of interest in the Motion range. The C5 is drawing considerable interest.
However one of the coolest things on the stand - IMO - is easy to miss and you really need to play with it for 5 minutes to really get in touch with the unique experience that is WriteTouch.
On the stand is one of the new LE1700 units equipped with the WriteTouch option. This is Motion Computing's answer to the dual mode touch and active digitizer model and it works very well. If you are attending CeBIT Australia, then make sure you drop in and check this out.
Before WriteTouch there were basically two ways that touch and digitizer have been implemented together. The first is to turn the touch screen on and off based on the proximity of the pen. If the pen is in range then touch is disabled. If the pen is out of range then touch comes on. This is also known as the soft switch approach.
The second approach to this problem that emerged was a hard switch approach. In this model there is a hardware button on the device that toggles touch on and off.
WriteTouch is a combination of these two approaches and could best be described as a hard switch on, soft switch off. What I mean is that touch is disabled completely if the pen is in range, hence the soft off. However you have to proactively enable touch when the pen is out of range. The difference is that there is no button to enable touch. You simply double tap the screen with your finger and touch is enabled. This gives you the ease of use of the soft approach without the accidental screen clicks that you sometimes get with the hard approach. Very, very cool.
There are some other differences between the WriteTouch tablets and other touch enabled tablets I have used in the past. These differences stem from the fact that it is not a resistive touch screen - it is capacitive touch. A resistive touch screen responds to pressure and therefore needs to be a little spongy so there is give - i.e. something to press. The capacitive touch screen, however, recognizes your finger as a finger because it is conductive. This means that the Capacitive screen does not need to be spongy and the WriteTouch Le1700 has a writing feel just like any of the other Motion slates. Another side effect of this is that you have to use the fleshy part of your finger, not your fingernail or a ballpoint pen.
Overall I was very impressed by the WriteTouch LE1700 and look forward to getting one to play with for a bit longer in the near future.