Tablet Taxonomy

Special Report: WebPads (January 2002 issue)

AirSpeak's Flair, a special case of a thin client

Most thin clients are designed to provide a wired interface to an application running on a server. AirSpeak's Flair is designed to provide a wireless interface to the applications running on the user's desktop PC. AirSpeak's target market is the "corridor warrior", an enterprise user who spends a lot of time out of his office in meetings on the corporate campus. This happens to be the same target market at which Microsoft is aiming the Tablet PC. The question (to be answered by the market) is whether the roving corridor warrior would really rather have a device that allows him to access the desktop PC in his office (the Flair), a device that replaces his desktop PC (the Tablet PC), or just his tried-and-true paper notebook.

Technically the Flair is a portable thin client that can also function as a Webpad or a CE Tablet. The device runs Windows CE as its operating system; AirSpeak has written application software on top of CE whose function is similar to that of Symantec's "PC Anywhere". The Flair can be used with just a browser (as a Webpad), or additional CE software can be added on a Compact Flash card to allow use as a CE Tablet.

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