Microsoft Corp has given developers a sneak preview of its WinPad operating system for pen-input devices. Like others, the operating system looks rather Filofax-like. It will include several bundled applications. These include Microsoft Remote Mail; facsimile and paging software; a run-time version of Visual Basic 2.0; Switchboard, a central networking hub; a personal information manager that will also be bundled into Chicago; and a package code-named DataSquirt, which will enable WinPads to communicate over serial lines. Microsoft promised that the full WinPad operating system and its bundled applications will run in 4Mb of ROM. Following reports that WinPad’s handwriting recognition is less than perfect, the company is playing down this feature. Instead, it’s emphasising other input methods, including keyboards and keypads. The WinPad developers’ kit provides additional tools, such as Visual Basic Extensions for the SOS Small Object Store file system. This enables fast systemwide storage and communication synchronisation between WinPad devices and other Windows desktop and WinPad systems.