Here's a good article on using Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, without a Tablet PC. My initial reaction was: a Tablet PC is more than a PC with handwriting recognition, so why use this as an alternative? But the final thoughts in this article made me realize that it is indeed a viable alternative to buying, or using, the “real thing“. In some scenarios that is.
Most Tablet PC's are designed to be lightweight, have a long battery life, and of course have a panel display that you can write on. However, in this form, it's not the best platform to do development. I have a 1400x1050 screen, but it's 12 inches. There's no internal DVD drive and, as with all laptops, a mouse is replaced by a touchpad. Sure, you can hook up a better display and all other kinds of stuff, but where's your portability then, he?
So when I'm doing normal development stuff, it's in “laptop mode” (it's ok, even with the smaller screen, because of the higher resolution). Doing Ink-based development, however, is awkward, since I would have to write on the screen which is in front of me. Anyway, back to the article. The author suggests that you buy a graphics tablet (like the Wacom Intuos2) and hook it up to your development machine. After you install Windows XP Tablet PC Edition (available if you are a MSDN subscriber), you're good to go.
I doubt if this will become mainstream usage for Tablet PC software, but for Tablet PC developers and people who want to try before they buy, it's a good suggestion.