The software maker has already trained the handwriting-recognition software to read a number of languages, but the new Multilingual User Interface and Recognizer Pack adds the ability to write in more than one language at time.
The update to the Tablet OS, which is a custom version of Windows XP, covers French, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, and American and British English. With the latest update, customers can also quickly switch menus and dialog boxes to a different language.
Initially, Spanish wassupported by the OS, but Microsoft has been working to make the software more worldly. The new version of the operating system understands Iberian Spanish.
The latest software update will be made available both from PC makers that offer tablet computers as well as directly from Microsoft for those that already own a tablet. The update can be ordered from Microsoft's Tablet PC Web site.
Although tablets make up just a small part of today's laptop market, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hasthat such handwriting-recognition capabilities will eventually become standard on portable machines. According to market researcher IDC, computer makers 72,000 tablet PCs in the fourth quarter of last year, with the market predicted to "grow considerably" this year.