British PC maker Tiny will soon begin selling 'Web-tablet' — a pen-based handheld computer that's halfway between a notebook and a PDA (personal digital assistant).

Currently the company is aiming the device at the schools market, where the tablet's use of wireless networking makes it helpful for supplying on-demand PC and internet access to classes held in buildings never originally designed for IT.

The Web-tablet will run a full version of Windows XP and communicate with a server via a wireless PC Card-format network card.

Unlike the prototype, shown here at the BETT education technology show at Olympia, the full production version will have handwriting-recognition software and a wireless keyboard. It should cost less than £1,000, said Alison Boswell for Tiny.

Wireless networking has already proved its worth in providing computer and internet resources in schools built before electricity, let alone PCs.

But one aspect has yet to be resolved — how to prevent pupils from stealing portable computers.