Wednesday, March 08, 2006

UMPC early info.

Last week I posted about Microsofts Origami project which is rumoured to be a Windows XP driven handheld tablet which will use Ultra Mobile PC technology from Intel. The exact details of what Microsoft has on offer will be released tomorrow but today Intel released the details of their UMPC platform as well as prototypes. Then Samsung released details of their UMPC device and let journalists play with a prototype for early reviews.

The guys on Engadget played with Samsungs unit and took some photos of it but they don't seem overly impressed
From the five minutes we spent with it we can tell you, well, it’s an XP Tablet PC with a 7-inch display. Sorry, that’s about it, nothing earth-shattering here folks. In fact, for all the hype, it’s hard to find anything revolutionary or even evolutionary in the hardware specs or loaded software (perhaps that will come when the price is announced).
Looking at the pictures and reading the details I have to say I'm not as keen on it as I was last week. Sure the UMPC is still basically a good idea, but it seems to be shaping up to be a little too big and a little too expensive. The Samsung device doesn't exactly look pocket sized, or even jacket pocket sized. It looks to be about the size of a (thin) hard back novel. Price wise Gizmodo reported it at "Under a $1,000", so I'd guess somewhere in the $800 to $900 price bracket.

Of course we can't really judge until the final details are released tomorrow and even then until the commercial versions of the units are released but based on what we know so far I have to say that despite their extra features I think I still prefer the smaller, simpler, Linux powered Nokia 770 for $359. It may not have the same power or memory of the UMPC but it seems more suited for on-the-road usage. Remember all the processing power and hardisk space in the world will not turn a tablet into a workstation. Email and web browsing will be the main applications on them, I don't need to run MS Word when I'm typing on a virtual keyboard with a stylus. The 770 and a Video IPod will cover most peoples needs for less money.

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