Lenovo has taken their X200, de-powered it a little and turned it into an incredible power-miser:
If the X200t is just too convertible-y for you, and the standard X200 just doesn't last long enough for your 18-hour plane rides, the X200s won't do you any good either. If you only need 10-hours of juice, however, this unit is just about perfect. The ultraportable does give up some raw horsepower in order to deliver such stunning life, but true road warriors will certainly make the sacrifice. Critics over at Laptop Mag were duly impressed with just about everything the pricey X200s was packing, noting that the keyboard was "excellent," the design was sturdy and the screen was clean and crisp. Additionally, they found that the power decrease wasn't too noticeable in real-world use, though they did lament the omission of a WWAN module (agreed!) and webcam. Bottom line? These folks found it well "worth the splurge," though we'd recommend giving the full spill a read if you're seriously on the fence.Now if only they'd do this with their X200t tablet. (Although they'd have to come up with a new name. "X200ts" looks ridiculous.) While still shy of the dream of a 24-hour battery life, 10 hours would be incredible for a tablet PC. Most people could safely leave their power adapter at home and enjoy untethered all-day computing.
If a manufacturer could get a lightweight, small form-factor tablet PC with 24 hour battery life, other than outdoor use, that would just about fit the bill for much of what I'm looking for in an ultimate eBook reader.
Speaking of using a tablet PC as an eBook reader, I've been experimenting with using my X61 in tablet mode to read PDFs on the subway. Other than being constrained by 2.5-3 hours of battery life it's actually works pretty well. I just downloaded a trial version of PDF Annotator and it has blown my socks off. PDF Annotator is a program that lets you mark-up PDF files directly on your tablet. With this, I have access to a whole slew of drawing tools including any color of pen and highlighter I want. When I'm done editing the document I can save it as a PDF file and share it with anyone who has a PDF reader. It's a great way to collaborate on a document, add a signature to an electronic form, or make notes on articles that you're reading.
I had downloaded a trial version on a previous edition PDF Annotator and liked it pretty well, but had a few gripes with some of the navigation. I'm happy to report that the programmers have improved on nearly every aspect of this software and it is a must have for any tablet PC user. If you're a student, you can purchase it for $29.90 (normally $69.95).
The advantage of tablet PCs relative to eBook technology includes speed, versatility, color, backlit displays (both a pro and a con), and much greater processing power. The strengths of eBooks include long battery life, durability, lower cost, and much lighter weight. I see both of these devices as both substitutes and compliments to each other. While I'm waiting for my uber-tablet and uber-Kindle, I will content myself with getting good use out of my tablet PC and (hopefully soon) an Amazon Kindle.
Incidentally, Microsoft may be inhibiting the progression of a small, inexpensive tablet. They are willing to sell Windows XP to netbook manufacturers, but not if it is going to be used on a tablet. My guess is they are trying to keep tablet PCs as more high-end devices, but it is really killing the potential market and development for these technologies. It's not so much that Vista is so much more expensive than XP, it's that the hardware requirements to run it are much greater. I could see a low-priced tablet netbook under-cutting both eBook reader and tablet PC sales. Loosen your choke hold, Microsoft! We'll love you for it!