The popular perception of Penpoint and Pen Windows (Microsoft's get-it-out-the-door-fast response) is that they've been created chiefly for deciphering handwritten scrawls.
It's equally unrealistic, we believe, to think of PenPoint or Pen Windows as solutions to the ultimately trivial problem of keyboard phobia "like designing a car for people who can't drive," says John Dvorak).
And it's becoming clear (because of the inevitable comparisons between PenPoint and Pen Windows) that there will be two fundamental ways to think about the pen--as an input device and as a metaphor.
The arrival of a new input device, of course, doesn't automatically shake up the software world; in fact, the basic assumption behind Pen Windows is that pen input can be treated as a painless extension of the Windows environment and Windows software.
But we're not convinced that Pen Windows is the key to unlocking these markets.
Instead, we expect Pen Windows to flourish primarily among white-collar users of traditional productivity applications--spreadsheets, word processors, databases, presentation packages.
Pen Windows is off to an even slower start; our guess is that Microsoft won't be able to deliver a true commercial product much earlier than mid-1993.