Day 8. Still no TabletPC

Thursday, March 24th, 2005
Why can't buying a TabletPC be a quick and easy experience?

A week ago, I shared my frustrating and unsuccessful attempt to quickly purchase a high-end M200 TabletPC from Toshiba. My post about my desire to become YABHTU, created quite a stir in the blogosphere. James Kendrick and Marc Orchant even talked this, on today's Tablet PC podcast.

Here's an update on my mission to show my clients how to use digital ink ...

Today, I received an email from Paul Vollenweider, Vice President of Toshiba Direct. Mr. Vollenweider apologized for the difficulties I encountered and he outlined how the purchasing process is supposed to work. He also extended an offer to assist me. I really appreciate that he took the time to personally address my concerns and to explain how the purchasing process works. While I still don't quite know how long it might  take to get the TabletPC I want, I'm delighted to know that Mr. Vollenweider is genuinely concerned about the purchasing experience of his customers. Very professional. Had this happened a week ago, I would now own an M200, I would be well on my way to becoming YABHTU, and this post would be about how everyone should buy a TabletPC. Well, I'm not there yet. I've followed up with Mr. Vollenweider; right now, however, I must decide what to do with Fujitsu.

Wait a minute? Wasn't I trying to buy a Toshiba?  Yes, I was, and had it been available for purchase, I would have.  Since it was not, I decided to start over and research alternatives.  About the same time, Fujitsu announced their new T4010D TabletPC. With the introduction of this new model, Fujitsu is back in the running for my dream TabletPC. Previously excluded by the lack of an SXGA screen, Fujitsu got my attention by offering a TabletPC with not only an SXGA+ screen, but also standard Bluetooth and abg wireless -- two of the features unavailable from Toshiba M200 in a pre-built configuration. But wait, there's more. The high-end pre-built Fujitsu Tablet also includes a multi-format DVD burner, and a wide angle indoor/outdoor screen, Firewire ports, and Gigabit ethernet as well. Sweet. My corporate clients will love this.

I'm ready to buy  ...

As I did when I planned to purchase the Toshiba M200 TabletPC, I spec'd out my dream TabletPC, this time, from Fujitsu.  OK, I'm ready to buy; where do I send my money, and how soon can I have it?  I start by filling out an order on the Fujitsu web site. Wait a minute. What's this? According to the Fujitsu web store, my dream TabletPC - the one with the wonderful indoor/outdoor screen that I want - only comes in XGA. What? XGA only? Why can't I have the SXGA+ screen with the indoor/outdoor coating applied? Wouldn't everyone want the ideal TabletPC -- one that can be used indoors as well as outdoors? Certainly, I'm not the only one interested in this capability. Why do these features have to be mutually exclusive, especially when I'm willing to pay for them?

I guess I'll have to do some more research. This will further delay my purchase.

Why can't buying a TabletPC be a quick and easy experience?

Update 3:52 AM PST
- I just called 1-800-FUJITSU and spoke with Kim and then Brent. Both were VERY knowledgeable about their product and enthusiastic about their company - especially for people working the midnight shift. I got quick answers to most of my questions. The T4010D that I want will have to be custom configured, and the fastest drive available is a 5400 RPM drive, (no mention of throughput). Unfortunately, the SXGA+ screen option is only available as an indoor screen. That's too bad. The only way I can get an indoor/outdoor screen is to downgrade to XGA. Finally, the Multi-format DVD drive is not a dual-layer as one product review I read had indicated. It still looks like a good drive. All custom configured units come directly from Japan, so I will need to allow 7-10 business days + 2-3 days for shipping. I realize that there is no such thing as instant gratification (at any price) for the ultimate TabletPC. I'm disappointed that I cannot have the indoor/outdoor screen in SGXA+. I left my name, phone number, and email address; I asked for a product manager to contact me. Perhaps, when I wake up, I'll have some additional information in my mailbox to share.

Update 4:19 AM PST
-  I can be very vocal about what I want in technology and how I think things should be. I want to make sure that I share that despite my frustration with the process of selecting and purchasing this TabletPC, my interactions with both Toshiba and Fujitsu have been very professional. It's neat to deal with people who obviously care about their product. Now, if they would only contact me first about their configurations and proposed feature sets ...  Good night.

Discussion/Comments (2):

Toshiba M200

I'd be interested to hear Toshiba's explanation of the process for a four week delay. I've been looking at the M200 myself. But a four week wait is a deal breaker.

Posted at 03/24/2005 11:35:46 by Brad

Hey, Eric, sorry to see you're still having a tough time -although glad to see you're getting tons of help. As we quickly went over Thursday, meet up with Linda. She has an M200 that I bet -if you're nice ;) - she'd loan you for a few days, plus she can show you the Fujitsu. Good person. I confirmed with her that she's willing to meet with you.

Posted at 03/26/2005 15:38:45 by Lora

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