I've been intrigued by tablet computers since they came out on the market. I liked the form factor, the portability, the ability to hand-write notes and have them converted to other forms, and so on. I was concerned about being an "early adopter" of technology that I perceived needed some time to "mature", so I held off. Held off, that is, until about two weeks ago.
I had shopped around at a few integrators (e.g., Gateway, HP, Mobile Computing, Panasonic) to see what features were available and to see what trade-offs were necessary to get something like what I wanted. I've had very good luck with Gateway over the last fifteen years, so was a little biased, but tried not to let that bias affect the selection.
After the research and shopping, I decided to go with the Gateway CX210X, which coincidentally had promotional pricing at the time I was ready to make a decision. I upgraded almost everything to get as much performance as I could. I learned that dealing with a salesperson by phone was better than shopping solely online because the salesperson could make last minute price "adjustments" to provide an even better deal (in my case, the price was reduced an additional $200, well worth the time of a phone call).
I placed the phone order on 3 June 2007, and was told the machine would be at the house before 3 July 2007. I figured that it wouldn't really take a whole month to arrive, but since I wasn't in a hurry, it didn't matter much. I checked back on the order over the next couple of days, and learned that all the parts were available, and that my order was queued for "manufacture" (really just integration, since all the parts are built somewhere else). I was surprised to learn that just a few days later the finished machine was shipped from Shanghai via Federal Express. I didn't have a sense for how long it might take for the computer to arrive, so I was amazed to learn that Federal Express had attempted delivery at the house on Friday, 8 June 2007. Fortunately, Federal Express is open until 2000, so I was able to stop by the house to grab the door tag and head over to pick up the computer.
So, the story went from a phone order to having the computer arrive at the house in about five days. Pretty amazing. And, after all that, I really like the computer. I've started to configure it with all the programs I like, with a special focus on mapping (GIS) and radio communication (e.g., radio control, APRS™). More on those configuration decisions later.