...And Another Can Check The Signature

So eager is NCR Corp. to get into the emerging market for computers that can read handwriting that it plans to announce such a computer on June 24, even though the machine's software won't be ready until fall. NCR's $4,500, four-pound, notebook-size computer, powered by Intel Corp.'s power-conserving 80386 SL chip, will feature a cordless pen. The "pentop" will run either Microsoft Corp.'s PenWindows operating system or Go Corp.'s PenPoint. Both programs let computer owners enter information into the tablet-size computer using a pen-like stylus instead of a keyboard or mouse. Microsoft's version will work with application programs written for its Windows graphics system, but Go's software will run only applications designed specifically for pentop computers. So far, Tandy Corp.'s Grid Systems has the only pentop in production, but IBM is expected to announce a machine that uses Go's operating system software within a year. Analysts think the market for such handwriting-recognition portables could grow to as much as $7 billion in 10 years. The big target market: blue-collar workers who don't now use PCs.

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