Latitude XT: Capacitive Touch and More

As many of you know, we’ve been developing the Latitude XT for some time. During that time, we’ve spent a lot of time talking to Tablet PC customers about what they like and don’t like about existing products.

Customers told us that existing Tablet PCs are just too clumsy and clunky. We’ve worked to address this by creating one of the lightest and thinnest 12.1″ convertible tablets on the market at about 1″ thick and 3.6 pounds. I’m glad to see that some reviewers like Andrew Baxter at Tablet PC Review said it was the smallest power adapter he’s seen on any notebook or Tablet PC.

It’s clear that displays are important to many customers as well. Many customers use Tablet PCs in outdoor or brightly-lit environments, and many existing products didn’t have adequate screen brightness.  That’s why we designed an optional daylight viewing panel that is the brightest in its category-at 400 nits, it’s almost 2X the competition.  Now, this option does add a little more thickness and a little more weight.  So, for mainstream users more concerned about size and weight, we still recommend the backlit LED panel at 220 nits.

Next, as tablet users are mobile all day, they told us that battery life was becoming increasingly important.  We answered this with a standard six-cell battery that offers about 4 ½ hours of continuous battery life and an optional battery slice that snaps snugly on the underside for up to 9 hours of “all day computing.” Regarding the battery slice, I saw that Engadget raised concerns about the battery slice blocking the air intake. Here’s the deal: with the battery slice attached, there is  a small gap (1mm or so) between the slice and the bottom of the tablet. This space leaves sufficient room for air to flow from the fan through the sides of the system, allowing the unit to cool. In our tests, the system remains within spec for heat both with and without the slice.

But perhaps the biggest frustration customers told us about with existing offerings was around the use of “resistive” touch technology. This technology needs the user to apply force to the screen in order for the system to recognize interaction, which contributes to poor accuracy and durability issues with the screen itself. Many customers using resistive tablets that support both pen and touch actually wind up turning this feature off because the palm rejection technology is so cumbersome. On this front, I think we’re making our biggest impact. The Latitude XT is the first sub-four pound convertible with both pen and “capacitive” touch technology. Capacitive technology senses the touch of a finger with no pressure leading to better accuracy, response times, screen durability, and ultimately, a better user experience. As an example, as far as accuracy and speed, our third-party tests confirmed this against the Lenovo X61T.  Also, the digitizer is rated up to 10 times more durable than competitors resistive touch digitizer technology.

In this vlog, Rick Seger from N-Trig and Bob Sparks from our Engineering team walk you through the capacitive pen and touch capability of the Latitude XT and introduce you to the benefits of freestyle computing. 

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Format: flv

With this product, we’ve really made an effort to address our customers’ issues with other Tablet PC offerings. I hope you agree!

About the Author: Glenn Keels