Intel's ultra-mobility chief, Anand Chandrasekher, when questioned by Register Hardware this week, was suspiciously unwilling to say how long machines based on the firm's new Ultra Mobile Platform (UMP) will run between battery charges. How long you can use UMPCs for is as crucial to their success as the ability to run a …
UMPCs: always a product in search of a market
It’s too large to carry around everywhere, but too small and too hobbled to work on efficiently. In effect, it falls awkwardly between two established form factors (i.e. smartphones and ultra-portable laptops), acquiring none of the positive points of either platform, but suffering all the deficiencies of both. There's an intriguing article about it here:
Didn't Apple fail at this ten years ago?
Sounds a lot to me like the newton slightly updated for 2007. Last year Samsung's first UMPC lost a cnet comparison to the 10 year old newton, so one has to wonder if technology has finally caught up to the newton concept or if this will end up showing that there is still limited demand for this form factor. If I could get a modern device running os x (or even better an updated newton-style os that wasn't tied to apple or ms) that is compatible with ms office and wasn't locked into a mobile phone company like the iphone is going to be then I might be able to leave the laptop at home sometimes. Pepper pad is too far out there, nokia tablets are interesting but after the ngage i'm not excited about another experimental nokia platform, even if it has been around for a couple years. Are devices like this necessary? Of course not, but in a convienence form factor with limited function novelty is as important as functionality.
There is a market, and it's already becoming saturated. The Nokia N95 is a great example. I have installed the GMail client on it, have a standards compliant browser, POP3 mail access and with Wi-Fi and 3G I can get the net nearly anywhere.
On top of this, most smartphone can at least read MS office docs and some can create them too. I can use my phone for MP3's and even for 3D gaming too. (E.G. N95 has a ATi chipset in for graphics)
Generally I need to charge it every couple of days. Why would I spend $500 on another device that can do the same without the phone calls?!
Skip the color screen and Cray supercomputer core
I'm in the market to replace my Palm crap. I'm on my 5th Palm TX due to repeated digitizer failures.
Anyway, I'm in the process of installing Python and other stuff on my new Nokia N800 to turn it into a general-purpose device. I'm also writing a banking app for it, copying the GUI from the nice one on my Palm. I wanted a Micro Vaio, but a) it was $2500 and b) the day I went to buy it, Best Buy stopped carrying it.
I'm REALLY surprised my Nokia doesn't have a reminder calendar or to-do app. That's sad because it's rather simple and cheap to add. Is Mahjongg that much more important than a to-do list?
You DON'T need a color screen or the latest quad-core processor. Get rid if that crap and battery time will double or quadruple. If that means no Vista, to h*ll with Microsoft, there's always Linux.
My Palm Vx had a greyscale screen that was perfectly readable at night with the lights off as well as in brightest sunlight. The new color Palms wash out in the Sun, like in a parking lot when you're trying to look up an address.
The moment Palm went from greyscale to color, their battery life went from a couple weeks to a couple of days. My Vx battery lasted 12-16 days. My TX lasts maybe 4 days if I'm lucky.
You DO need a hardware keyboard, be it clamshell, slide-out or Palm Treo/Crackberry thumbpad. I'm tired of trying to pick out letters with a stylus. The N800 soft keyboard design is far better than the Palm, but that's not saying much.
Ngage wasn't a platform
"nokia tablets are interesting but after the ngage i'm not excited about another experimental nokia platform,"
Ngage wasn't a platform, it was a brand name. The Ngage handset itself was just a standard Symbian S60 smartphone, like dozens of others Nokia make. There was absolutely nothing special about it at all, except that it had the DRM software required to access the games. If you removed the DRM on Ngage games, you could run them on standard Symbian S60 handsets because they were exactly the same inside.
S60 incidentally has done very well, it's now the most popular form of smartphone in the world. Something like half of all smartphones run S60.
The tablets are totally different, they run an interface called Maemo on top of the Linux operating system and have no technical relation whatsoever to Nokia's other products.
Tandy 100 / Sinclair Z88
Neither the Newton nor this new UMPC fab can compete with the mighty Tandy 100 of 1983. It was basically just a text-entry portable wordprocessor, but it had sixteen hour battery life, a proper tough keyboard, and a fairly big screen. For something more recent, I'm sure you could pick up a Science of Cambridge Z88; when I'm on the move I only really want some kind of basic text-entry system that I can hook up to Word later on.
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