Back in 2002, with the launch of the first set of commercially-available Tablet PCs running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman and chief software architect, predicted that these new devices could spell doom for the common household PC or notebook.

It’s no secret that Tablet PCs have had a rocky entry into the international IT market, but it would seem that instead of accounting for the majority of PC sales six years on, they have established themselves as valuable pieces of technology in a number of niche sectors.
This is according to Reon Coetzee, marketing manager for Toshiba South Africa and Africa, as the company launched its new Portégé M700 Tablet PC offering.
“Whether used in education, insurance, medicine or even retail, Tablet PCs have clear advantages over conventional notebooks, particularly from a manageability perspective,” Coetzee says.
“Notebooks are great tools for mobile business people but sometimes even the most portable notebook can be unwieldy when, for example, there is no table or flat surface to rest it on to type an e-mail or make notes on a document.
“Tablet PC technology has matured to a point where they are no longer clunky, expensive and under-powered devices with poor battery life. And this is evident in the launch of the Portégé M700,” he adds.
The Toshiba Portégé M700 Tablet PC replaces Toshiba’s Portégé M400 adding a number of new features making it a worthy addition to any business’s mobile workforce.
Weighing in at 2kg, the Portégé M700 is based on the latest Intel Centrino Pro mobile platform for maximum performance while utilising the minimum of battery life.
Incorporating the “convertible” form factor design, the Portégé M700 can be used as a regular notebook with a full QWERTY keyboard, or the screen can be twisted and flipped down over the keyboard to turn the M700 into a touch-screen slate for use with a digital pen or even the user’s finger in selected models.
The hinge and display guides/pegs have been improved over the previous Portégé M400, giving users a latch-less locking mechanism adding to the M700’s overall stability over time with wear-and-tear.
For industries that demand a certain level of ruggedness in their technology, the Portégé M700 features enhanced resistance to spills and falls – able to shrug off 100ml of liquid and falls of up to 100cm.
Additional connectivity and multimedia features make the Portégé M700 a compelling choice for niche markets such as insurance or educations, for instance, with the addition of a 1.3 megapixel web cam, secure smart card reader, a slim SelectBay DVD Super Multi drive and battery life of up to 4:30 hours.
“Tablet PCs have certainly come a long way in their six-year history,” Coetzee says.  “It’s clear that they are not going away as many people would have predicted in recent years.
“Tablet PCs have clearly matured to the point where they have found a definite place in the market and, with products like the Toshiba Portégé M700, they will continue to provide compelling features for the ever-increasing demands from their users,” he concludes.