Saturday, April 29, 2006

TabletKiosk UMPC Shipping Delayed

As one of the very first UMPC models available, the TabletKiosk eo v7110 is a hot commodity. However it seems that some pre-ordered units will be shipping late. TabletKiosk has made a clear statement regarding the issue and how the situation is being handled:

"At TabletKiosk, our primary goal is to provide outstanding products and superior service that "exceeds our customers' computing expectations." Guided by this philosophy, we take great effort to ensure that our machines perform exactly as they are promoted.

As the end of April rapidly approaches, we find ourselves in the position of having to balance our commitment to quality with the expectation of a timely product delivery. After the process of quality control was completed on the first eo production units, it was determined that there was an issue in the tooling of the back panel that affected the operation of the system fan. Because of this problem, the back panel had to undergo a slight redesign and thus the initial shipment is going to be only a fraction of what we had anticipated."

This is surely a tough situation for both the customers who are anxiously awaiting for their eo v7110 UMPCs to arrive and TabletKiosk. Despite this, we applaud TabletKiosk for taking an initiative to resolve an obvious hardware issue, rather than dismissing it as a first generation problem.

TalbetKiosk further states that the majority of orders will be available to ship by the beginning of June.

Apple virtual keyboard patent quite resembles a UMPC

After that "the display is the camera" stunt they pulled the other day, we really wouldn't put much past Apple's patent department, but this new new virtual keyboard patent of theirs does look vaguely familiar, wouldn't you say? It does seem that Apple didn't get that "two thumbs are better than one" memo, but they seem to have stuck with their usual conceptual artist for the mockup, and are bent on teasing us with touchscreen ideas. The patent also mentions some ideas for learned pressure sensitivity for the keyboard based on what you usually type, which sounds interesting, if a bit too smart for our tastes. Apple also has a recent patent for the iPod that have the device's screen mirrored onto a larger screen, and also allows for remote control and wireless file transfer between the devices. It's all well and good, but Apple has had a patent for wireless file transfer for a while now, so it's nothing to get too excited about.


Friday, April 28, 2006

Ultra Mobile PCs Set To Boom

This ought to be the last of the sales projection posts for a while; at least until concrete numbers are released.

The market for the Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) that Intel and Microsoft are pushing could reach 7.8 million units by 2011, provided that the devices solve several problems, analyst firm In-Stat wrote in a new study.
Intel and Microsoft unveiled the UMPC last month. The device features an adapted version of the Windows operating system, a 30 to 60 GB hard drive, and 7-inch screen. Battery life is estimated to be around 2.5 hours for the early models that are due out later this year.

The UMPC's success depends in part on the emergence of high-speed wireless technologies that offer users access to their data at all times. Vendors furthermore need to create comprehensive subscription bundles that offer both wireless connectivity and access to premium content such as streaming music and video, argued Jim McGregor, a principal analyst with In-Stat.

"We need to really look at the hardware but also at the services model. The biggest constraining factor is consolidating that and bringing down its price level and complexity," McGregor said.

If those issues aren't resolved, the device by 2011 will appeal mostly to niche markets and unit shipments will be limited to 3.8 million, McGregor projected.

The firm expects sales to ramp up by next year, with device makers selling between 100,000 and 210,000 units in 2007.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

UMPC shipments to reach 7.8 million

On the heels of Samsung's news yesterday, here are some more very optimistic projections that I think are unattainable.

UMPC shipments to reach 7.8 million units by 2011, says In-Stat

Behind the backing of industry heavyweights Microsoft and Intel, several electronics vendors introduced a new class of handheld consumer electronics device that attempts to offer consumer and communications functions, combined with a full-function PC. Based on a traditional PC platform, the Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) overcomes many of the computing limitations associated with other Consumer Electronics (CE) devices, such as cellular phones, and the mobility limitations of existing PCs. Market research firm In-Stat believes the potential for UMPC shipments could be as high as 7.8 million units by 2011.

Asustek Computer, Founder and Samsung Electronics are the first three OEMs introducing prototypes to capitalize on the new platform opportunity. It's ironic that the UMPC is now taking center stage close to a year and a half after Transmeta, a company focused on delivering processors for this very segment, finally had to call it quits as a processor vendor because of lack of market growth, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst with In-Stat. As Intel aggressively moves into this market, they have emphasized that the processor performance just has to be 'good enough.' However, the processing solution will have to meet increasingly stringent power requirements, as improvements in battery technology are not advancing at the same pace as the requirements, McGregor added.

Recent research by In-Stat found that the requirements of the UMPC will drive a new generation of low-power x86 processors, the current processor of choice, while inviting competition from other processor architectures.

There is also no one-size-fits-all solution for all market segments.

The first UMPC generations will not have any unique features, but will attempt to build on a new usage model around defined price points, In-Stat added.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Are We Ready for Ultra-Mobile PCs?

"Samsung expects to sell 400,000 UMPC's over the next year." That's quite the projection.

From IDG News Service

On May 1, Samsung Electronics will start selling its Q1 ultra-mobile PC (UMPC), the first of a new breed of handheld device that Microsoft and Intel hope will change the way people use computers.

However, don't look for a revolution to happen overnight. "The opportunities are big but I think the turning point is still in the future, not tomorrow," said Dadi Perlmutter, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobility Group.

We are now playing with the first wave of something," he said.

Based on the Origami platform developed by Microsoft and Intel, Samsung's Q1 runs the Tablet PC version of Windows XP and boasts a seven-inch touch-screen LCD panel and a 900-MHz Celeron M processor. With a price tag of around $1200, Samsung expects to sell 400,000 of the devices over the next year.

For UMPCs to be a success, they must be more than a slimmed-down notebook or large PDA. "If it is going to end up that way, I don't think it will succeed. It has to be something beyond just an 'in-between,'" Perlmutter said.

As with any new type of device, these designs will inevitably go through several rounds of revision and improvement, Perlmutter said. "We ultimately want to get [the UMPC] lighter, smaller," he said, noting that these versions of the device will likely be available in two years.

Eight hours of battery life and Wimax connectivity will also be important features of future UMPCs, providing a constant high-speed Internet connection, Perlmutter said. This combination of high-speed connectivity and the relatively large LCD screen, will allow users to access information on the Web that's not viewable on the small screen of a cell phone or PDA, he said.

Combined with technology that can tailor this information to a user's location, future UMPCs offer the prospect of interesting new applications, Perlmutter said. "I have a restaurant chain. You log into my Web site and I know your location. You get the map on top of Google Earth, you could even get my menu," he said.

Of course, this can also be done using a notebook PC. "But it's not realistic that I'm going to take my notebook out of my bag each time I want to look for something," Perlmutter said. "But if I have device like [the UMPC] with instant-on, it's useful."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Readers Comments

I asked on week ago: Who will UMPC benefit the most?

The readers answered with some interesting suggestions that I hadn't thought of.

ctitanic said:

What about developers?
UMPC will allow them to take their code everywhere...
What about carriers like Fedex, UPS...
What about bloggers? suggested:

eBay users, forum moderators, and web site admins

chris thought that:

Artists. The emergence of digital art has made it necessary for artists to have computers. A UMPC is like a digital sketchbook where they can use whatever PC software to create content on the go.

While emil echoed my thoughts:

Students and the unemployed. I can't even imagine how much lazier I could have been if only the UMPC had been released during those sweet, sweet years.

I think the most interesting suggestion goes to chris as UMPC's might allow them to take their work with them and create wherever they are able to create the best.

Continue leaving your comments and suggestions as to who UMPC will benefit the most.

Monday, April 24, 2006

ASUS R1 To Debut Late In May

According to DigiTimes that refers to Apple Daily, ASUS is to introduce its first tablet PC - R1 - not before May-June this year. At CeBIT 2006 this device (codenamed R1F) was promised a month earlier, in April-May.

This 7" device, that some online sources correlate to Origami, bases on Intel Celeron ULV and Intel 915 GMS chipset and has 512MB RAM.

Whether it's Origami or not, it will be the first tablet in ASUS's portfolio.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Will Tablet PCs Replace Textbooks?

Speaking as someone who has bought a lot of textbooks, if textbooks for a Tablet PC are an option, I would certainly consider downloading the textbook rather than having to lug around the complete book.

This might allow the downloading of only specific chapters but would prevent you from selling your used textbook at the end of the year if you no longer need it.

"We do see, over time, that the ink input for the tablet and speech input will become as important as the keyboard, not replacing it but equally important." Gates said at a news conference here.

"In fact, we see a day where every student, instead of their textbooks, will simply have their tablet computer connected up to the wireless Internet," he said. "And so the teacher can customize the material, they can quiz the student. That student can have that tablet with them wherever they go and it's actually lighter than the textbooks and more flexible, richer in terms of what it can offer."

Still a Believer

Tablet computing has long been a technology in which Gates has believed.

After some early trials of the technology Microsoft gave it a major push in 2001 when at the Comdex trade show Gates launched the tablet PC platform. "It's a PC that is virtually without limits and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America," he said.

The first tablet PCs came on the market in 2002. However, the original dream of Microsoft and hardware makers to push the technology into the mainstream never came true. Today, tablet PCs remain in several vertical markets but have yet to break out to the average consumer.

Now, the technology is about to get another chance.

The most recent iteration of the technology is Microsoft's Origami platform, which is based around a tablet version of Windows XP. The software is used in Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPC), a small form-factor computer platform developed by Microsoft and Intel that is intended to sit between a laptop computer and PDA.

Samsung Electronics, which will begin selling its Q1 UMPC on May 1, expects to sell about 400,000 of the computers in its first 12 months on the market.

From Yahoo

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Details on Apple's UMPC

When Microsoft first announced something called Origami, nobody quite knew what it was. In the following weeks the Origami project became more clear since Microsoft was releasing new information every two weeks or so. The end result was a national anticipation as well as fascination with the new type of computer that was even more portable than a laptop. Well it seems that now the whole world has gone crazy with the Origami concept and to not so much our surprise Apple is getting ready to release their own version of a UMPC which means Ultra Mobile Personal Computer, or as many call it Origami.

Seems that now days Samsungs Q1 maybe the closet thing we’ll be able to put our hands on for it has been the first one announced. Well Apple even though keeping very anonymous with the whole UMPC concept, has filed patents from which it would suggest that it is working on a small tablet-like device with arc-shaped on-screen QWERTY keyboard and iPod style click wheel. In one word, simply a UMPC in the making. What is interesting about this concept though is that as most portable Apple products this on too will feature a click wheel.

Knowing what Apple is capable of, we might expect some great things coming out from the production lines of this giant. The addition of a click wheel will really make this one stand out and with a bigger screen the viewing will be much more satisfactory. From what is known now, this is only a concept that is yet to be officially announced, will apple make a UMPC? You better bet they will. More information abut this should be available in the next couple, of months.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Gates Sees a Tablet PC for Every Student

The uphill battle that tablet computing continues to face in winning favor with consumers hasn’t dampened Bill Gates’ enthusiasm for the technology. Microsoft’s chairman and chief software architect said Friday that someday, tablet PCs will replace textbooks for all students.

"We do see, over time, that the ink input for the tablet and speech input will become as important as the keyboard, not replacing it but equally important," Gates said at a news conference in Tokyo.

"In fact, we see a day where every student, instead of their textbooks, will simply have their tablet computer connected up to the wireless Internet," he said. "And so the teacher can customize the material; they can quiz the student. That student can have that tablet with them wherever they go and it’s actually lighter than the textbooks and more flexible, richer in terms of what it can offer."

Tablet computing has long been a technology in which Gates has believed.

After some early trials of the technology, Microsoft gave it a major push in 2001 when at the Comdex trade show, Gates launched the tablet PC platform. "It’s a PC that is virtually without limits, and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America," he said.

The first tablet PCs came on the market in 2002. However, the original dream of Microsoft and hardware makers to push the technology into the mainstream never came true. Today, tablet PCs remain in several vertical markets but have yet to break out to the average consumer.

Now, the technology is about to get another chance.

The most recent iteration of the technology is Microsoft’s Origami platform, which is based around a tablet version of Windows XP. The software is used in Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPC), a small form-factor computer platform developed by Microsoft and Intel that is intended to sit between a laptop computer and PDA.

Samsung Electronics, which will begin selling its Q1 UMPC on May 1, expects to sell about 400,000 of the computers in its first 12 months on the market.

Apple to get in on UMPC fun?

A new patent application filed on behalf of Apple Computer suggests the company might be planning its own implementation of the UltraMobile PC concept.

A patent filing spotted by UMPC News covers a touch-screen keyboard on a product that resembles the UMPC or Origami devices introduced by Intel and Microsoft last month. The application describes a virtual QWERTY keyboard that covers one half of a screen. It looks a bit like the virtual keyboard that will be used on Origami devices, except that Microsoft's version splits the keyboard into two pieces on opposite sides of the screen, according to the Origami Project's blog.

Mac OS X already has a feature called Inkwell that can translate handwritten notes into text, and the company has worked on touch-screen technology in the past. Samsung is expected to launch its first Origami device May 1.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Intel behind high UMPC costs?

This article falls in line with yesterday's on VIA's deal with Samsung to offer cheap processors.

Wondering who to blame for high-priced UMPCs? According to "market sources" out of Taiwan, it's Intel -- and Asian manufacturers in the company's thrall. The story goes something like this: Microsoft really, really wanted the UMPC to be priced at around $700. And the company was all set to partner with VIA, which could have delivered the goods using its C7-M processor. However, manufacturers like Samsung and Asustek demurred, insisting that Intel, with its good name and R&D might, was the only way to go. That bumped pricing up to the $1,200 range, and soured the whole UMPC launch. Well, maybe. If that's the case, we still have to wonder why the VIA-powered TabletKiosk eo is going for $900. And we can't help but point out that both Samsung and Asustek have had no trouble spurning Intel before, pumping out AMD-powered computers when it suited them. Regardless, VIA may have the last laugh. Samsung is already planning a $700, VIA-powered UMPC for later this year, and if other companies follow, pricing for the mini-tablets may actually come down across the board. Whether that will goose demand enough to make this a solid product category is, of course, another story.

From Engadget.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

VIA lands UMPC order from Samsung

Taiwan chip maker VIA Technologies has been selected by Samsung to provide embedded chips for its Microsoft ultra mobile personal computers (UMPCs), according to a report from Digitimes.

Microsoft unveiled its UMPC product idea at the CeBIT IT trade show in March. Microsoft will provide software and general reference designs for the products, which will be about half the size of typical laptops, but different manufacturers will produce the hardware.

The Samsung UMPC will be one of the first to hit the market in the second half of 2006. The device, which is expected to retailer for around $700, will be embedded with VIA'a C7-M microprocessor and VX700 chipset.

According to Digitimes, Samsung decided to go with VIA for its cheaper processors. Though Intel is a major partner in Microsoft's UMPC project, UMPCs based on Intel processors would be nearly twice as expensive as those built on VIA chips.

This is great news for VIA and consumers as there is a real commitment to building affordable UMPC's.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Who will UMPC benefit the most?

Now we know the products briefly that are being released under the UMPC/Origami banner.

Who will they benefit the most?

My opinion is fast moving professionals such as nurses and doctors allowing them to input and locate information quickly.

Leave your thoughts on who it will benefit the most in the comments section along with any sites you wish to promote. The best ideas will get a dedicated post in the following week.

UMPC will be great for...

UMPC will be great for... pilots.

This is from geekzone:

It's a hot form factor for use in the cockpit. Laptops and traditional tablets are too big. Something about the size of a paperback or even a hard-cover book is better. There's a lot of software for displaying all the charts that we normally have to carry on paper. Instead of taking a couple dozen folding paper maps when I fly from here to the coast I just load up the hard drive. All the maps are georeferenced to GPS so if you have a portable GPS you can see your position all all the maps.

The other problem they solve are approach plates. It's not a problem to carry a dozen pages for the destination airport, detailing the instrument approach procedures. But if the enroute weather is bad it's a good idea to carry approach plates for ALL the airports within gliding distance of your route. That means carrying one or two big leather binders. But I can get them all on the hard drive, again georeferenced to GPS.

Last is NexRad weather. I get weather downloaded via XM radio (do you guys have XM radio down there?) to my tablet PC, which is overlayed on my route so I can see exactly when I'm going to get wet (or worse). And I can piggyback an XM receiver so I get 170 channels of music and news to play through the headset.

Makes a lot of sense.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Samsung Q1 launch in 2 weeks

Check back here to this week to get the latest details on the Samsung Q1 launch coming up in two weeks for the US. We can expect details on pricing and extra features to begin to be released this week and we will bring those details to you as quickly as possible.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Samsung Q1 hits US on May 1st

Samsung is set to officially launch its Q1 UMPC in the US on May 1, with an event in San Francisco. We're assuming (or at least hoping) that this will be a real launch, with an announcement of pricing and availability (Samsung has already launched the Q1 in Korea, with a price of about $1,200). Of course, if Samsung decides to hold the event in the Moscone Center and starts sending out cryptic invitations, all bets are off.

From engadget

Samsung Q1 UMPC befuddles top execs during demo

This has got to hurt when you're trying to promote your new product:

In what must have been a liveblogger's dream press conference at Seoul's Grand InterContinental hotel earlier this week, not one, not two, but all three of the hardware and software executives using Samsung's Q1 UMPC for their presentations managed to experience technical difficulties with the device. The execs -- Samsung VP Kim Hun-soo, Microsoft Korea president Yoo Jae-sung, and Intel Korea prez Lee Hee-sung -- were gathered for what is being described as a "Steve Jobs-like" product demonstration gone horribly awry, with support staff forced to uncomfortably ascend the stage several times to help out their equally-uncomfortable bosses. Among the various mishaps were a battery that went dead after only a few minutes, an apparent inability to call up the on-screen keyboard for advancing a PowerPoint presentation, and another presentation that went into rapid slideshow mode on its own. While having one device fail in a demo happens all the time, seeing multiple units go down and/or befuddle the very people who make these things causes us to stop and rethink our commitment to the UMPC lifestyle that looked so fun and carefree in the teaser campaign.

From Engadget

Averatec's AHI UMPC concept device

What do you get when you mix one part OQO, one part Sidekick, and add a touch of UMPC? Apparently you get Averatec's new AHI concept device, that's what. Expected to be launched this fall for as little or as much as €500 or €900 ($600 or $1,090 US) depending on options, Averatec's aiming to launch their device with XP, a touchscreen (which we assume will take advantage of Microsoft's Touch Pack UMPC suite), WiFi, GPS, 3G data, and a six hour battery life in a 7.3 x 3.5 x 1.3-inch 24 ounce package. So yeah, basically this device might single-handedly solve just about every complaint the UMPC community (and we) have: price, battery life, keyboard, and wireless data. We'll believe it when we see it though, so keep your eyes out for Averatec this fall.

From Engadget

Friday, April 14, 2006

UMPCs Popular Even In Korea!

A few weeks ago, Origami was the hottest thing around. When the Ultra Mobile PCs were first revealed, people went nuts over the wonderfully portable design of the machines. While the excitement has dimmed down a bit in the USA and Japan, certain countries are still feeling the craze. For instance, Founder has announced a Korean UMPC model that is known as the Lucoms. While the Lucoms isn’t a revolutionary machine in any sense of the word, it showcases that many companies are willing to invest in this still untested field.

The Lucoms seems kind of like an average laptop in terms of specs, just made a whole lot more portable. For one, the 7” screen is way above anything that a PMP would offer you, but it’s still a lot smaller than any laptops. Therefore, you have the comfort of a large crisp screen, in a nice, portable package. The processor is usually what makes a computer, and this one features a Pentium M900. Once again, this is a decent, if somewhat average part for a laptop, but quite nice for something this small. As for RAM, there is an included 512 MB, which should make the machine capable of running all applications, save for some of the newer, more complex games. Finally, the user can choose between 30-60 GB of hard drive space. Overall, a solid, if somewhat unimpressive package. Nothing in terms of pricing or availability has been announced.

Founder’s UMPC is a pretty nice start, but it shows that the UMPC genre still has a lot of room for improvement. From what is being offered here, the average computer user should be very satisfied with a Lucoms, as long as it maintains a decent price tag. As more and more companies begin to develop UMPCs, we should see a steady progression of technology moving forward. If you’re more of hard core gamer, you might want to wait out until then. If you’re the type of person who just can’t wait to get their hands on a UMPC, the Lucoms sounds like a very reasonable purchase. Personally, I’m going to wait until these things are out on the market, and the true winners begin to shine. Until then, we have offerings like the Lucoms that stand as the solid, but average UMPC.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Samsung Q1 gets $2,000 price tag in Korea

We've seen the official price for the TabletKiosk eo ($900). Now another UMPC has gotten its first official price, and it's an even further cry from the original "about $500" price point once expected for these devices. The Korean version of the Samsung Q1, expected to go on sale next month, will go for close to W2 million, or roughly $2,000. Sure, the Korean version comes bundled with a DMB TV receiver, USB keyboard, auto adapter and other accessories, but considering that just about every phone, PMP or electric toothbrush sold in Korea seems to include DMB, and you can get a full-fledged tablet PC for well under $2,000, we really have to wonder who Samsung's targeting with this (other than, of course, the usual coterie of fans who will pick up anything promoted by a team of spokesmodels).

From Engadget

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Free TabletKiosk UMPC

Interested in a free TabletKiosk UMPC? Of course you are. Check the quote from the press release promoting this free UMPC give away from, LLC announced today that they are giving a way a brand new TabletKiosk eo UMPC v7110 256/30 to one lucky user that registers at by June 1, 2006. The giveaway is designed to celebrate the launch of their new web site dedicated to Tablet PC users and enthusiasts. The website, will include news, information, and forums of interest to Tablet PC users, developers, and vendors. will later include software, accessories, and hardware relevant to Tablet PC users. also plans to offer distribution and payment processing services for smaller software vendors, and shareware authors.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Photos of Samsung Q1 Accessories

Here are some photos of the official Samsung Q1 Accessories from their product guide.

Samsung Q1 gets official list of accessories

Expansys has slapped up a Samsung PDF file which lists a bevy of accessories for that new Samsung Q1 UMPC you probably have on pre-order. We already saw most of these on show at CeBIT including the 8-cell power bank (for about 10-hours op), USB keyboard, organizer bag, optical disc drive (a DVD-CDRW combo), car cradle, and variety of cases and sleeves. Thanks Expansys, now how about some prices on these and those optional GPS and DMB modules while you're at it so we can see just how far that already steep £799.95 (about $1,400) price tag is gonna tick.

From engadget

Sunday, April 09, 2006

UMPC footage

For your viewing pleasure, here's some new video of a UMPC in action that will be released in the wild later this month. The footage was taken at the Devconnections show in Orlando this week… so this is brand new stuff. Quite a good tour of the UMPC features.

Origami handheld computers up close

Nothing really new in this article from the Seattle Times

The crowd at Seattle’s Espresso Vivace Roasteria barely noticed, but Otto Berkes was there recently using one of the first models of Microsoft’s super-hyped “Origami” handheld computers.

Berkes led development of the concept, software and design guidelines that computer makers are using to build the devices. They go on sale this month as Ultra-Mobile PCs — Origami was a code name — for about $1,000.

Microsoft and the PC industry want the devices to become as handy as cell phones, as common as laptops and as cool as iPods, but analysts say the price has to come down first.

Berkes, who helped develop the Xbox, hopes they open up avenues for the PC to evolve in new directions.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Model 1+: A Device Remarkably Close To A UMPC!

Sure, we’re all anticipating the arrival of the UMPCs, but as it turns out, there’s been a very similar product out for a while now. OQO released the Model 1 in early 2005. The Model 1 wasn’t automatically labeled as a UMPC because the term wasn’t really used at the time, but this was what the product essentially was. Now, OQO is releasing the Model 1+, an upgraded version of its predecessor. With so much hype about UMPCs, perhaps consumers will buy this solidly built but very expensive portable device.

The Model 01+ runs on a pretty powerful Transmeta Crusoe processor with 1 GHz. The RAM memory is also pretty comparable to even the standard laptop, with 512MB built in. In true UMPC fashion, the Model 01+ has a touchscreen, which is admittedly a bit small at 5 inches. At least they got the 800 x 480 resolution right. This should provide for some very crisp and clear imagery. The device also has a full QWERTY keyboard, a feature that a lot of UMPCs have passed up. 802.11b and Bluetooth support are also present for whenever you feel the need for some wireless web surfing or peripheral integration. The Hard Drive isn’t much really praise-worthy, but the 30GB should get the job done.

Now as for the biggest change, the Model 1 ran on Windows XP Professional Edition. The Model 1+ runs Windows XP Professional Tablet Edition 2005, a version with similar features, but with some specific nuances geared towards the touchscreen. Sure, the machine is a wonderful piece of technology inside and out, but the price will undoubtedly drive most people away. At 1,869.95 Euros (2,265.00 USD), this is a purchase that will take some serious consideration. Personally, I’d recommend waiting a bit to see what other UMPCs offer, and at which prices. If you’re so eager to experience the portable goodness that you can’t wait, the Model 1+ is pretty much one of your only options. Heck, it’s not a bad one at that.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

UMPCs to Feature Special Media Center Extender

Julie Jacobson at CE Pro informed us on some interesting news concerning the new Origami UMPC handhelds trickling onto the market as we speak. It looks like Microsoft has created special Media Center Extender software to run on Origami based UMPCs. I've openly questioned the market for these devices at the current price points of $700 up to $1500. However, as a Media Center Extender, the potential for Origami opens up substantially, as Julie notes as well.

If you have automation software for MCE, you can use the Origami touchscreen to control the house.

Until she noted this, it hadn't occurred to me that $700 is not bad for a remote home automation touchscreen controller. Existing touchscreen devices on the market for home automation can run upwards of a few thousand dollars with far more limited functionality. The market for the Origami handheld may just be found in this niche. Great point, Julie!

There's not a formal date for the MCX software, though it is going to happen, according to Todd Rutherford, MS program manager for eHome Control.


VIA Launches Single-Chip Embedded VIA CX700 Chipset

VIA's CX700 packs a horde of features into a 37.5mm x 37.5mm package

VIA today announced the new CX700 digital media IGP chipset for its C7 and Eden processor platforms. The CX700 offers a rich embedded platform complete in an ultra-efficient (3.5 watt maximum power envelope), single-chip package.

The CX700 features a 128-bit VIA UniChrome Pro IGP core with hardware MPEG-2 decoding, VIA Vinyl HD Audio, support for up to 4GB of either DDR400 or DDR2-533 memory, along with SATA, SATA-II, PATA, and support for up to six USB ports. VIA's press release claims:

In the CX700, VIA has integrated all the key functionality of both the North and South bridges of a regular VIA chipset into a single chip package exactly the same size as a North bridge, i.e. 37.5mm x 37.5mm, representing a saving of over 34% in board real estate. This represents a major breakthrough for the embedded industry where ultra compactness is essential, and will have significant benefit for embedded boards such as PC/104 and VIA EPIA mainboards.

Volume shipping of the VIA CX700 is expected to commence in Q2 2006. Three weeks ago, VIA announced the C7 processor with much fan-fare. The processor boasts a 1.2GHz to 1.5GHz core clock with an average power consumption under 1W -- perfect for the dozen or so UMPCs and PMPs that have lined up to adopt the C7. Industry insiders tell us that with the CX700 IGP, we should expect to see even more UMPC manufacturers make announcements since the chipset is really the first full featured, DX8.1 capable IGP with such low power requirements.

Interestingly enough, the CX700 has no PCIe support. While this is typically fine for SFF and embedded solutions, many SATA, Ethernet and audio interfaces are moving twoard PCIe as a unified interface.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

SmartCaddie gets pricing

Sure, the PBJ SmartCaddie may be nothing more than the Japanese version of the TabletKiosk eo (or is it the other way around?), but its official launch this week was reason enough for Microsoft to fly Bill Mitchell, father of the "ultramobile lifestyle PC" concept, out to Japan for the event. To drive the point home, Mitchell emphasized that the Japanese market is crucial to the success of the UMPC platform. Microsoft also showed off some homegrown apps for the Japanese market, including one designed to teach schoolchildren kanji, which will be tested this month with a group of third graders. As for the SmartCaddie itself, specs are in line with what we've already seen for the TabletKiosk, including a Via C7-M ULV at 1 GHz, 512MB RAM, 40GB hard drive and a thoroughly unimpressive battery life of 2.5 hours. The Japanese price will be ¥99,800 or about $848, putting it roughly in line with the TabletKiosk's $900 US price. Based on this and other pricing information we've seen, it seems safe to say that we're not going to see a first-gen UMPC for under $800, and that some will hit the market for over a grand, making Mitchell's dream of a $500 box something that will have to wait for future versions -- or if the platform doesn't make it past 1.0.

From engadget

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Fujitsu shows UMPC with fold-out keyboard

The shape of things to come? Fujitsu are currently showing off some concepts for portable computing at Milan's Triennale di Milano - with their idea of how an ultra-mobile PC should look certainly drawing attention.

A long way from Samsung's Q1, rather than dispense with the traditional keyboard, Fujitsu have kept it, but made it compact and portable - keeping the size down to the equivalent of a CD case.

It's certainly a brave move, but one which will undoubtedly carry favour with the traditionalists and those of us who feel more comfortable with a keyboard as opposed to a stylus. Saying that, it does also limit your portable options - it's not something you can interact with easily whilst walking down a street or standing on a platform waiting for a train.

If you want to see it for yourself, along with other prototype Fujitsu designs, you'll have to head to Milan, where they're on display as part of a Japanese Design exhibition all this week.


Specs on the Samsung Q1 UMPC

We've already brought to you information on the price of this machine (£800) and now here are some specifications:

The 22.8 x 14 x 2.7cm Samsung Q1 features a 7-inch, 800 x 480 LCD and runs on a 900MHz ultra-low voltage Celeron M processor and an Intel 915GMS chipset, with 512MB of 400MHz DDR 2 SDRAM and a 40GB, 1.8in hard drive. There's also an integrated 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and 10/100Mbps Ethernet networking, plus Bluetooth 2.0 and two USB 2.0 ports.

The device also includes SRS' TruSurround sound 3D audio system, operating through the device's twin speakers and Windows Media Player 10 with its wide array of supported audio and video formats, along with Samsung's own instant-on media playback software. There's also a built-in GPS receiver and navigation software. Battery life is around 3.5 hours, according to Samsung.

Expansys expect the £800 machine to ship around the start of June.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Origami Announcements summary

Here's what we've heard so far with regards to UMPC devices being released. So far we have the following announcements.

Samsung Q1(Pre-order now) for UK£799.95
Asus R2H (available June?)
TabletKiosk v7110 (Pre-order now) From $AU1499
Founder MiniNote (Korea only)

Dell (Second Gen UMPC)
We've also heard Toshiba give an informal "not currently on the drawing board"...

It would be good to see a main stream PC or tablet shop give it the nod...


Saturday, April 01, 2006

What does the Medical community Think?

Besides cost, poor design is the biggest barrier to adoption for both HIT and medical devices. When I saw the photo of Asus' thumb keyboard designed for their new ultra mobile PC (UMPC) I was reminded of Graffiti, the handwriting recognition user interface Palm developed for their PDAs. Graffiti was one those things that sort of made sense at the time, but quickly faded from the market. Time will tell whether this Asus UI will last or not.

Now that the initial flurry of stories about the new UMPCs is over, let's look at what it all might mean. These new devices are consumer oriented devices; probably stealth digital rights management (DRM) platforms. To cut it as a platform for caregivers, they will need to be smaller (enough to fit in a lab coat pocket), ruggedized enough to survive a waist-high drop onto linoleum, and water resistant so you can wipe off the inevitable patient fluids with disinfectant. Oh, and the enclosures will have to be made out of a material that is impervious to the deleterious effects of disinfectants, especially brittleness.

The best things about the UMPCs are the screen size and the promise of a standard Windows platform. These devices will never replace a laptop or tablet for EMRs, but could easily take over applications now deployed on PDAs. The device that comes closest to health care requirements is still the OQO.

From Medical Connectivity Consulting. Interesting points here about how useful Origami / UMPC will be in this field.