On the Job: NBC News Election Coverage Had High-Tech Twist

15 Dec, 2004 By: Cadalyst Staff Cadalyst

Brokaw, Russert trade whiteboard for Fujitsu tablet PC to deliver presidential play-by-play

Recently retired NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw and political analyst Tim Russert called on a new reporting tool during election night coverage on November 2: the Stylistic ST5020 Tablet PC from Fujitsu Computer Systems.

The Fujitsu Stylistic ST5020 Tablet PC (figure 1) replaced Russert's famous whiteboard used during NBC's coverage of the 2000 election.

Figure 1. Fujitsu's Stylistic ST5020 Tablet PC was on the NBC News set the night of the 2004 presidential election.

During the broadcast, Russert wrote updates on the Fujitsu Tablet PC and his handwriting instantaneously appeared on the television screen for viewers to follow along with election coverage. Viewers were kept apprised about which candidates won electoral votes in each state with the information made available via the tablet PC.

Featuring wireless connectivity and weighing just 3.5lb, the tablet PC is not only highly portable, it also offers fast processor, as much as nine hours of battery life, and a wide viewing angle, the company reports. It is less than 1" thick and features a screen measuring 12.1".

A tablet PC is a notebook computer that has an LCD (liquid crystal display) screen that a user can write on using a pen called a stylus. The handwriting is digitized and can be converted to standard text through handwriting recognition, or preserved as handwritten text. Using six intuitive application buttons, the two newsmen were able to quickly launch and toggle between different applications during the television coverage.

The Stylistic ST5020, priced starting at $2,049, is powered by an Intel Pentium M Processor ULV 733 operating at 1.1 GHz. This particular processor is designed for low power consumption, which translates into a cooler-running tablet PC with long battery life. The PC runs on the Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 operating system. It can be purchased in any of several recommended configurations or customized.

"Fujitsu is honored its tablet PC was used as a part of NBC's election day coverage," says Richard McCormack, vice president of product and solutions marketing for mobile computing at Fujitsu Computer Systems.

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