LET'S FACE IT: AS NIFTY AND powerful as they are, personal computers don't win many prizes for aesthetics. And they add major clutter to work areas. Now, Source Innovations Inc. in Long Beach, Calif., wants to change all that with its Modula-Executive Desk Pad. It replaces the usual PC keyboard and monitor with a tablet about the size and shape of a desk blotter.
The $3,500 device plugs into any IBM-compatible PC, which stays on the floor under your desk. Measuring 27 in. by 19 in. by 0.06 in. thick, the tablet includes a 10-in. color screen that responds to touch. There's a 96-key keypad, as well as a microphone and two speakers. Lacking a true keyboard, the tablet is designed mainly for executives and others who want to view data available through their computers, not do extensive typing. Naturally, the marketing effort is focused on upscale professionals. But Source Innovations, the marketing arm of a French company called Source Development, says it has another prospect: A yacht manufacturer may use the pad to monitor its boats' controls. Deliveries begin in September.