One of the items on my list of things to do before heading to PDC was to install the latest Vista Beta available through MSDN. Today I noticed that recently the Tablet PC Input Panel (TIP) for Vista has also been released recently, which was the final push I needed to install the Vista on my Toshiba M200 Tablet PC.
I am pleased to report that the install went amazingly well. I clicked next a few times and before I knew it, my video card and other devices drivers were being successfully recognized and Vista running. One more double-click to install the TIP and Vista was Ink enabled on my M200. Very nice! I give the user experience of the install an A+.
On this topic there is a very informative advertising insert in in the October 2005 MSDN Magazine "The Evolution of Tablet PC Technologies in Microsoft Windows Vista". It provides some answers to many questions on the future of the Tablet PC. When people heard that Microsoft was no longer going to brand a Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, some worried that the Tablet PC was going away. Others of us hoped that this meant that the features of the Tablet PC edition functionality would just be a part of Windows, enabled when the appropriate hardware was attached. This article explains "In Windows Vista, Tablet PC shifts into the mainstream. Ink becomes more ubiquitous, integrating indirectly into the presentation subsystem in Windows Presentation Foundation"
In Windows Vista, there will apparently be three parallel technology stacks for Ink: Com, Windows Forms, and Windows Presentation Foundation (Formerly know as Avalon). This is very exciting news for Tablet PC developers, users, as well as every future user of Windows Vista.