This edition is intended for specially designed notebook/laptop computers called tablet PCs. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is compatible with a pen-sensitive screen, supporting handwritten notes and portrait-oriented screens. Initially, a retail version could not be purchased separately from a tablet PC, but in August 2004 it became universally available at no cost as part of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP. Unlike Windows XP Media Center Edition which is not available in a retail or volume license form, a volume license version was also made available.
Tablet PC Edition is a superset of Windows XP Professional, the difference being tablet functionality, including alternate text input (Tablet PC Input Panel) and basic drivers for support of tablet PC specific hardware. Requirements to install Tablet PC Edition include a tablet digitizer or touchscreen device, and hardware control buttons including a Ctrl-Alt-Delete shortcut button, scrolling buttons, and at least one user-configurable application button.
There have been two releases:
Service Pack 2 for Windows XP includes Tablet PC Edition 2005 and is a free upgrade. This version brought improved handwriting recognition and improved the Input Panel, allowing it to be used in almost every application. The Input Panel was also revised to extend speech recognition services (input and correction) to other applications.
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is based on Windows XP Professional and includes all the software features provided in it. In addition, it includes some of the following components:
The following downloadable packs released by Microsoft add more functionality:
Microsoft Experience Pack
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition utilizes the Ink object as a means of data input and storage. This is a data type created as part of the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition API that allows users to manipulate and process handwritten data, including recognition results and, in some cases, the pressure information for each part of the stroke. Properties of Ink can be changed in much the same way as properties of other objects, and the data can be saved to allow future reference. Many applications referencing the Ink object also allow handwritten notes to be filtered and searched through, based on the recognition results stored when Ink is saved.
Integrated with the operating system is a Tablet PC Input Panel (TIP) which allows handwriting to be converted into text for use in most non-full-screen applications. The integrated handwriting recognition in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 can recognize print, cursive, or mixed writing. Accuracy can be increased by configuring the recognizer to expect left-handed writing or right-handed writing. Recognition in a variety of languages is available with the install of a recognizer pack. The handwriting engine cannot be trained to recognize a particular handwriting style, so the user must modify their handwriting to be better recognized by the system in order to use this feature effectively.
Speech recognition functionality is also incorporated into the Tablet Input Panel. Compared to previous versions, a substantially improved speech recognition engine version 6 (which also ships with Office 2003) and a tutorial, microphone wizard and training modules are included. It is possible to dictate text using speech in certain supported applications and control the Windows GUI and applications using speech, although the accuracy improvements further made in Windows Vista surpass these features. An update for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition containing Ink Analysis and StylusInput API support introduced in Windows Vista is also available