Several years ago, I purchased a Viewsonic Airpanel 'smart display' to act, as it were, as my 'kitchen PC'. Based on Windows CE, it connected wirelessly to my desktop XP Pro and let me run just about all my apps. I was a big fan; I even wrote a review for Make magazine. Unfortunately, with my imminent transition to Windows7 and the fact that Microsoft got out of the smart display business years ago (even before I bought my unit, I think), I'm pretty much out of luck. So, with plans to sell the Airpanel on eBay, what to do?
Now, I do currently own a Fujitsu P1120 Lifebook--a netbook-sized device (back before there were such things as netbooks) with a nifty touchscreen. However, at 800Mhz and 256MB RAM, it does to run...rather...slow... So, started poking around on eBay, and scored myself a sweet deal on a Compaq/HP TC1100 tablet PC. With 1GHz and 1GB RAM, it's got a bit more oomph. The detachable keyboard, swivel base, SD card slot, rotating screen, and touchscreen all work pretty well; surfing with Chrome is fast, and the handwriting recognition seems pretty handy. I'm not terribly keen on the proprietary stylus, but it seems like a small sacrifice.
I'm also taking my first experimental steps with Linux. I stumbled across a program called Wubi, which is a Linux installer that works on Windows--it automatically partitions your drive, installs one of four flavors of Linux, allows you to access the files on your Windows partition, and can be removed using the Windows uninstalled. I first tried it (with Xubuntu) on the Lifebook; it worked fine (especially after downloading a utility to calibrate the touchscreen), but it seemed like surfing with Firefox on Xubuntu was actually slower than Chrome on XP. I've now got it on the tablet as well (I'm actually writing this post on it). The touchscreen still works well, but other things--the rotating screen and handwriting recognition--aren't working, and I'm not quite enough of a Linux geek to fiddle around too much with it.
Nevertheless, I'm now reconnected in the kitchen; all I need to do now is get the Airpanel up on eBay...