Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Intel Microsoft Portables Hardware

Death of the UMPC? 127

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the go-not-gently dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Remember the UMPC, that little tablet that Microsoft once called Origami? Well it looks like that Intel has scrapped the idea of promoting the UMPC, in favor of a much smaller (and less capable) Mobile Internet Device (MID). The UMPC is now heading for a market niche, where it may be replacing the tablet PC as a mobile computer for field technicians. The MID takes on the role of the original UMPC concept, but it won't run Vista."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Death of the UMPC?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...but they have the temerity to pooh-pooh the iPhone?

    Hey, while we're at it, how's those tablet PC sales, guys?
    • by WasterDave (20047) <davep AT zedkep DOT com> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:19PM (#18983037)
      Exactly. Somebody has sat around in a board meeting and said "well, it's not small enough to sit in your pocket, but it's not big enough to be useful as a PC. We need to give up on the PC idea" and sooner or later they'll conclude that:

      * It needs to have the full face be a screen and
      * It needs to integrate with cellphone data networks and
      * While you're at it you might as well make calls on it and
      * Put in a web browser and
      * Connect via 802.11 to the rest of the world.

      Finally they'll make it look like arse and put WinCE on it. It'll come out a year after the iPhone and will suck. Shit, if we're lucky it'll be called Zune UMPC.

      Dave
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by bangenge (514660)

        Shit, if we're lucky it'll be called Zune UMPC

        And if we're even more lucky, it's gonna come in BROWN

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Yold (473518)
        I am assuming that you are making a joke since this was modded funny, but microsoft+vendors offer all of those features (including WiFi) in smartphones. The only real advantage that I could ever see for a UMPC was the full version of Internet Explorer. Despite Microsoft's claims to the countrary, WM5 doesn't support AJAX w/o some serious workarounds for the A part of the JAX. It has very limited support for things full-blown browsers have been doing for years, for example streaming media support is non
      • Full-face-screen cell phones with touch screens, web browsers and 802.11 have been around for years. Unlike the iPhone, they're programmable. Some come with slide-out keyboards (yeah!), others use on-screen keyboards. Many have cameras. There are a dozen different finger input methods for them. Even tilt sensors have been around. You even have a choice of several different operating systems.

        The real question is why there is all this hoopla over the iPhone; as far as I can see, there is not much that's
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by WasterDave (20047)
          The real question is why there is all this hoopla over the iPhone

          Because the whole "Pocket PC" industry is, at it's core, derived from the Palm Pilot. Which, apart from being a spectacular double entendre, is a non-sexy product. It's not cool, it's not funky, and at no point were there colourful adverts with people dancing around while entering phone numbers into a spectacularly expensive piece of consumer electronics. When they then lost.

          The iPhone, on the other hand, extends both the iPod and the "OSX era
        • The real question is why there is all this hoopla over the iPhone

          The exact same reason why there's hoopla over Macs, when they're just like regular PCs: it runs Mac OS.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by BadERA (107121)
          As the owner of a Treo 700W PocketPC, a Cingular 8125 PocketPC and a Cingular 2125 Smartphone (both rebranded HTC models), and a Microsoft MVP nominee for Visual Developer - Device Application Development, I hope that a MID will offer "more." More screen space. More power. "More" keyboard -- I want something on which I can realistically read and answer email, compose a document or spreadsheet, edit and compile code, and 2.2" of screen with a thumbboard, and limited processor and memory, ain't gonna cut it.
        • by Moofie (22272)
          "it's the same form factor and the same functionality as dozens of devices before it. "

          Yep. It's almost like there's more to designing electronic devices than just the physical size and the feature list. As if there were some sort of...interface...between the person and the machine, the design of which is important to some people.

          I wonder if there are any companies that have built a loyal (although not overwhelmingly large, but very acceptably profitable) following in the market by having well-designed us
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      While Microsoft says "hey Slashdot how is that desktop linux doing?"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rayonic (462789)
      I never understood why they just didn't build on their PocketPC platform. A large, thin PPC would be an ideal e-book reader, and would have good battery life too.
    • by NSIM (953498)
      The story seems directly at odds with a story on the Register this morning about Intel revealing plans for future UMPC platforms...

      http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/05/04/intel_anno unces_moorestown/ [reghardware.co.uk]

  • It won't run Vista. What more could you want from a computer?
  • N800 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:54PM (#18982861) Homepage
    If you'll notice, the Intel device is very similar to the Nokia N800. It runs Linux, and uses Nokia's Gtk enhancements for touchscreens called "Hildon".
    • Is that what you use to hack Paris Hildon's Blackberry?
    • by simpl3x (238301)
      Although I'm getting rid of my n800, and I had an n770 before that which was short lived as well, it is a nice profile. What people do not gather about the iPhone and such are the possibilities of interaction and actual work. It is far from there, but say in five years, our primary computer will be of this scale.

      The UMPC was like the original Newton, not enough, but too much. The screen was too small, and the interaction too minimal. Another lock-in gone awry. I did just purchase a BB 8800 and have to say t
      • It is far from there, but say in five years, our primary computer will be of [the n800 or iPhone] scale.

        I sure as Hell hope not! I've got a 12" Tablet PC, and that screen's quite small enough for me -- and I went out of my way to get 1400x1050. Any resolution lower than that is too damn small. Now, don't get me wrong: manufacturers can feel free to make the machine paper-thin and light, but it's got to have at least, say, an 8" diagonal screen with 1024x768 to be even slightly useful (and the more pixels,

        • by takotech (648308)

          > I've got a 12" Tablet PC, and that screen's quite small enough for me -- and I went out of my way to get 1400x1050.

          What model Tablet PC do you have? I've never seen one with the SXGA+ resolution before.

          • They have had SXGA+ for several years on 12" screens. My old Toshiba M200 is 1400x1050 on a 12" screen, a more recent model would be the Lenovo Thinkpad X60, which is also 1400x1050 at 12". If you're looking for something a tad smaller, my Fujitsu P1610 is 1280x768 on an 8.9" screen :)

            I can't wait till someone brings out 1600x1200 on a 12" laptop. I know you can get 1920x1200 on a 15.4" widescreen from Dell and a few others but those laptops are just too large for me.
          • Lenovo X60 Tablet.

        • it's got to have at least, say, an 8" diagonal screen with 1024x768 to be even slightly useful (and the more pixels, the better).

          Depends on what you're using it for. My Sharp Zaurus SL-C3000 [on.net] (link is not my site, BTW) has a screen about 4 inches diagonal. It's highly portable and I use it a lot for writing (poems, stories, essays - text entry as opposed to heavy formatting). I have even taken it on camping trips, USB cabled to my cell phone to check mail and have emergency login capabilities to the serv

          • by hitmark (640295)
            a N800 with a fold up keyboard could do much the same, but yes those zaurus's are indeed nice.

            i know i wished i could get hold of one when they where first announced...
        • by drinkypoo (153816)
          I actually won't screw with anything less than 1600x1200. I want at least 100 ppi, as well! My current fastest laptop (not owned by work that is) is an old IBM Thinkpad A21p. It has a 15" 1600x1200, which if you do the math is a hair over 133 dpi. THAT makes text SMOOTH!
      • by walt-sjc (145127)
        Apple, in spite of Palm's better judgment, is going to walk in, unless somebody comes up with something better and more useful.

        While I certainly agree that the Apple iPhone UI looks awesome and is probably better than everything else out there, the iPhone won't fly in the enterprise market which has the money for the service plans needed to exploit the full capabilities of these devices. It needs to have an open development platform. The plethora of free and commercial third party apps on palm / WM are what
      • by *weasel (174362)
        After a few months with my n800 I agree completely. Give me some way to 'dock' the device to a bigger display, and moore's law will make its successor good enough for all my actual work in a few years. (kickstand and bluetooth keyboard only get us so far. the n800's screen is beautiful, but just not comfortable for too long.)

        There are plenty of applications for portables of all shapes and sizes. While I don't see a need for anything between a laptop or an n800, I can easily see a warehouse guy, physician
  • A MID is basically a way to push the UMPC into the consumer range, at around PDA prices. I see it as a competitor to Nokia's internet tablet, of which I own one, and am quite fond of it. A MID is a device that takes into account the shortcomings of Internet Tablet's and addresses them, while still maintaining the appeal of the form factor. It's not a device for hardcore computing, its a device for laying in bed and surfing the net, maybe while listening to some music, or podcasts. That it is also quite
    • It's not a device for hardcore computing, its a device for laying in bed and surfing the net

      Here, let me fix that for you: It's not a device for computing, its a device for laying in bed and surfing hardcore on the net.

      There ya go, good as new.
  • Large PDA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fishthegeek (943099) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:58PM (#18982899) Journal
    There is a point in any products design possibilities that when reached makes the product very undesirable. Something that is bigger than a pda but too big to put into a pocket, smaller than a tablet but too small to have a practical screen, something as powerful as a laptop but without the convenience of a full size keyboard. I am one of those relics still addicted to the Palm products, I have a TX and for all intents and purposes it can do everything that I need to do when I need a quick mobile fix, otherwise I fire up the laptop for real work.
    • Hear, hear! I too still love the original PDA concept, and have little time for converged devices! Guess that makes us both relics! The trouble is down the road the original PDA may become an extinct species, especially given the apparent tendencies of the main existing PDA manufacturers!
      • Hazaaaaa! There are still enough of us that buy the PDAs that I think manufacturers will continue to pursue the market. If it weren't for the crappy battery life, poor navigation, ridiculously small buttons, and smaller screens the converged devices would be perfect for me :-)
  • why (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The MID takes on the role of the original UMPC concept, but it won't run Vista

    Because if it did, you'd have to lug a car battery around everywhere.
  • by MoOsEb0y (2177)
    Now maybe they can get rid of the oft-hyped "VIIV"....
  • by rlp (11898)
    The market niche is already occupied - sounds distinctly like a high-end PDA (some of which run Linux) as well as some of the high-end smartphones (like the Treo, latest Nokia linux phone, etc.).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Holmwood (899130)
      There's actually very little that occupies the market niche of devices with sufficient resolution to read websites without reformatting them (say a minimum of 800x480) at a reasonable price (say under $500).

      The iPhone -- while it will likely be an innovative and fascinating device -- won't have the resolution to comfortably read larger documents or non-reformatted/horizontally scrolled webpages. That's not of course its primary purpose.

      There are a very small number of PDA's that are 640x480, but most device
      • by SL Baur (19540)

        There's actually very little that occupies the market niche of devices with sufficient resolution to read websites without reformatting them

        That says more about the sad state of "web design" than anything else. "This site is best viewed at AAAxBBB resolution" was declared bad practice from the very start, not that many people paid attention to it. As the web was originally designed, we could all be browsing this discussion with our cellphones (and /. is one of the friendlier sites).

        Ah well. My side lost that argument years ago. Mark me -1 redundant, die-hard.

      • by rlp (11898)
        Sharp made a very nice clamshell Zaurus PDA with VGA resolution that runs Linux. (I have a somewhat earlier model). The used QT for the UI and supported both WiFi and Bluetooth. There apparently wasn't a big enough market for the product so it's been discontinued.
        • Sharp made a very nice clamshell Zaurus PDA with VGA resolution that runs Linux. (I have a somewhat earlier model). The used QT for the UI and supported both WiFi and Bluetooth. There apparently wasn't a big enough market for the product so it's been discontinued.

          The Sharp Zarus SLC [ezaurus.com] line is still available in Japan. The clamshell form factor is very common here for electronic dictionaries, in fact during my stay in Osaka a few people have mistaken my Z for one.

          Doesn't do Bluetooth or WiFi without you

    • by Askmum (1038780)
      Just look at the devices from HTC to see the evolution. They started out as smartphones, became PDA's with phone functionality (which make you look silly holding it to your head) and their latest (the Advantage) doesn't even have a speaker for use of the phone.
      It still has a phone for HSDPA/GPRS though, has WiFi, is now uncomfortably large to put in your pocket, has a hard drive, but won't run Vista because that's just to bloated.

      But it's the natural way. I expect their next device to have a 7" 800x600 scre
  • by eebra82 (907996) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:13PM (#18982995) Homepage
    I think the UMPC is a great idea, but as with any mobile PC, there is a limited market.

    There is a reason why ultra portable laptops are expensive and hard to get. The market is simply too small to become mainstream. If you go for desktop replacements ranging from 19" screens and up, you get the same thing.

    Also, when you create a far too big hype around it like Microsoft did, you kind of have to expect something superb as well. If only they had released it without all the fuzz about it, media wouldn't kill it. We would look at it as some semi-gadget and semi-useful tool.

    Also, why they pushed it so hard before we could actually catch up with the hardware is beyond me. Yes, first generation products are often crap, but if you combine the words ultra mobility with low battery life, you kind of ask for it.
    • by phaggood (690955) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:38AM (#18984277) Homepage
      > I think the UMPC is a great idea, but as with any mobile PC, there is a limited market.

      As soon as I found out about the thing, a $2K PDA, I was reminded of my thoughts when "Ginger" was revealed to be the "Segway". How did Kamen expect to revolutionize transportation when a *real* car can be purchased for the same price? I know what he *said*r about Segway, that it doesn't compete "in the same space" with cars, scooters, bikes or rollerskates, but people with jobs tend to make decisions like that (wheels=transportation/computer=pda|laptop). So even if MS *says* the UMPC wan't competing with a laptop, the masses standing at the counter at BestBuy will look at the device and all think "damn, I can get a that laptop over there for less, or maybe that Treo, or, hell, *both* for less money".

      Yes, there *is* a market for $1000 bottles of Crystal, but if I'm trying to break into the wine market, I'm aiming for the larger "screw-top" product space.
  • OS X for MID (Score:3, Insightful)

    by G4from128k (686170) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:14PM (#18982999)
    Given that MID will be based on the McCaslin platform which will include a dual-core Stealey processor running about 600-800MHz, it should run OS X nicely. Both 10.3 and 10.4 are usable on machines as slow as a 400 MHz G3, so a tuned 10.5 should run acceptably on MID.
  • And when, exactly, are Intel and Microsoft going to focus on something useful?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tim Browse (9263)

      And when, exactly, are Intel and Microsoft going to focus on something useful?

      Exactly. I mean, if they put their minds to it, I bet Microsoft and Intel could come up with a personal computing platform that's used by more people than anything else in the world.

      Oh well. Just a pipedream, I guess.

      • Or they could take that platform and make it stable, efficient and lots of productivity wouldn't be lost. Or they could invest in stuff like UMPCs.
  • by jerryasher (151512) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:18PM (#18983021)
    I want a cellphone running Linux with a docking port. I want to dock it to a better keyboard and a typical desktop display and network, and I want to be able to login to it remotely via ssh and display apps remotely via X, and to get to its storage as a network drive or usb drive.

    Seems pretty trivial, when that's available, let me know.
  • If it never really took off...
  • In a mobile computing device, there 3 parts consumes the most powe: CPU, storage and display.

    Looks like Intel is going to solve the CPU power usage issue here. NAND flash pricing and storage capacity is catching up. All we need now is a cheap and low power consumption display. TFT LCD is alright for mobile phone is because the LCD is not on most of the time. However for MIDS, people can browse the web for hours, it would really kill the battery fast.

    So, until LCD can significantly reduce power consumpti
  • Obligatory (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by hellfire (86129)
    "...but it won't run Vista."

    And this is a bad thing?
  • ....I had *completely* forgotten about that thing since the article about its introduction scrolled off the front page of Slashdot.
  • The UMPC dies. And no one notices.

    I own a Sony UX280. I take pride in noone noticing it when I walk about. I wear a wind breaker or jacket which is plenty to cover the belt strap in which it is stored and transported. It looks really dorky when its visible. Its just small enough to hide and to most people that observe me using it they assume its some overly large hand held gaming device like a PSP or a small video player.

    Perhaps part of making something popular in the market is its visibility in the public eye. Those iPod white headphones

  • by Anonymous Monkey (795756) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:34PM (#18983135)
    I remember when I first heard about this thing. It sounded cool, but not cool enough to spend over $1,000 on. That is the death of lots of gadgets. They are cool for $500, wonderful for $250, and you can't live with out them when they are only $100, but at >$1k it is just kind of neat.
    • The price of a gadget does not make it more or less indespesible - it just means more or less people might own one. I am happy to pay a lot of money for something that works well, and something that works well generally will come down in price because a lot of people buy them and keep buying them. The original Palm was a great example of this, but they didn't handle product evolution with and when my Palm V died I didn't see a new model I was happy with, so I dropped the line.

      • Very true. It is more accurate to say that at $50 it is far more likely to become widely adopted because consumers would be willing to put up with it's short comings until it becomes something truly useful. And if it was not truly useful, well at a low enough price it is still a cool toy for hackers. But at the price that they were asking it would need to fill a real need and work right out of the box, and that is something that this little gadget just didn't do.
      • by Moofie (22272)
        "The price of a gadget does not make it more or less indespesible"

        Logically, that's very true. However, it DEFINITELY impacts peoples' perceptions of what they need.
  • I saw one yesterday that ran Mobile Windows, could support MS Office, AIM, a VPN tunnel client, browser, PDA functions, camera, mp3 player, bluetooth, 802.11g WiFi and of course a 3G near broadband speed cell phone. Cingular 8525.
  • OSNews [osnews.com] just linked an article about the first computer that could fit in this category, from 1981, the Epson HX-20 [reghardware.co.uk].

    Kind of looks like a neat idea for its time, albeit a little limited by the available information processing technology of that era.
    • The funny thing is that I bet the HX-20 had a better keyboard than virtually anything they're turning out today. (Although admittedly tough to use one handed, or without setting it down on something.)

      That's one of the reasons I've never really gotten into the whole text-messaging/blackberry stuff. I could afford one (and my current phone does do texts) but it just seems obnoxious. I'm not going to sit there and type in a damn message with my thumbs, that's stupid, and probably unhealthy in the long run. (So
      • by RR (64484)

        The funny thing is that I bet the HX-20 had a better keyboard than virtually anything they're turning out today.

        I don't expect so.

        I had an Epson PX-8 Geneva, a 1984 descendant of the HX-20. Its keyboard was sort of like the keyboard in my ThinkPad 760: Smooth at first, but gradually harder to press unless you're one of those freaks who press keys straight down. Except that it doesn't flex like the ThinkPad's keyboard.

        Eventually, several collections of keys stopped working, and the machine in general beca

    • by LuisAnaya (865769)
      Well, there was always the Tandy M100 http://www.club100.org/ [club100.org] .
  • by Eloquence (144160) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @11:02PM (#18983315) Homepage

    The Nokia N800 [nseries.com] is a pretty nifty device, a WLAN-enabled "Internet tablet" with a nice high resolution screen, running the open source Maemo [maemo.org] platform based on the Linux kernel. Maemo has a very healthy open source developer community, and tons of the best applications have been ported to it. What is missing, however, is a GSM chipset, or indeed any non-WLAN networking capability. Nokia apparently does not want its "Internet tablets" to compete with its smartphones. I am waiting, then, for an "N1000" that combines these capabilities. Perhaps OpenMoko [openmoko.com] will be successful, but it doesn't have the WLAN chipset.

    Any device that combines these three factors - open source and full hackability, phone, and regular networking - will be a killer app. Hackability does not mean that it has to be difficult to use: with a Debian-like system for software management, users can experiment with new apps easily. Of course, many of the current economic models around cell phones (ring tone downloads, background images, specialized content portals) are not really sustainable, and so the market may be biased against that innovation. But a smart company will recognize that by maintaining strategic leadership within an open source ecosystem, they will create many more business opportunities for themselves than in a proprietary, locked down market. It's too bad that Apple doesn't appear to be that smart company. I hope that Nokia is.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have an N800 now, and it totally rocks for my use. Basically a (non-x86) PC I can carry in my shirt pocket, and Linux software is being ported at a ferocious rate. Unlike cell phones, it's got a screen that's actually useful for web browsing, and also unlike cell phones, I don't have to pay for data access (above my normal ISP fee) and I'm not nickel and dimed to death on every little possible "service". And it's an open, hackable platform. Great stuff!

      However, I suspect these open linux-based UMPC de
      • It may not have marketing to take off as a full PC replacement, but Nokia has the muscle to sell it as a mobile appliace - i.e. a smartphone alternative without the cellular connectivity, but with a decent screen and proper web browser.
    • I'm not sure I do want GSM built into it. I'd rather have a nice small phone which I can comfortably hold to my ear, and a separate tablet. They can talk to each other via Bluetooth.
    • by Cadallin (863437)
      Why use cellphone wireless when you can do VOIP over WI-FI? I realize there are advantages to cellular, but WI-FI ends up being MUCH cheaper by the byte.
  • My vision of a MID (Score:5, Interesting)

    by escay (923320) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @11:03PM (#18983319) Journal

    Current mini-Tablets, UMPCs, OQOs - any ultra-mobile (read small) PC solution for that matter, have an inherent disadvantage - they try to do too much in too little. miniaturization with full functionality is good but only up to a point - there comes a stage where the purpose of a device has to change, and then change the way people use it (and not necessarily the other way around always). We assume that a PC by it's very name defines the purpose of the device - that it has to store, process and communicate information. The OSs these days run high overheads and demand lot of hardware to support, which might be worthwhile if the system can be fully utilized - but when the goal is portability, the heavy framework becomes more of a burden than a feature. This is where a paradigm shift is needed - and it can be achieved, with the sweeping assumption that Internet is ubiquitous (an assumption that doesn't seem to be so wild these days).

    A Mobile Internet Device would be a lean lightweight device that runs a small but not heavy-duty processor, and minimal hardware to support primary functions such as display, input, audio etc. It will not have an OS. Instead, what it will have is a Web Browser , and a basic BIOS type menu for system maintenance. The browser can be (preferably) written hardware specific, so it serves the dual purpose of a very basic OS as well as the browser itself. Of course the browser has to bem ore powerful than our regular ones with all appropriate plugins (Flash, JAVA, pdf etc) installed, but it still is no OS. It may look like this restricts the users to primarily browsing, but browsing is hardly passive these days - you can read, write, speak, draw, design - pretty much do any normal function with today's increasingly effective web apps. For instance - Google Docs & Spreadsheets replace MS/Open Office; there are similar web equivalents for other desktop functions and more are coming. In fact, there are webtops like Goowy and eyeOS which pretty much obviate the need of any local OS for common computing functions. No hard disk is needed because there is no large local storage - solid state memory will suffice. Onboard graphics card is enough, because all the display shows is Web content. The convergence of these hardware and software ideas lead to the perfect MID - not as small as a phone perhaps but small enough to be ultra-mobile, yet capable of replacing your regular desktop and serving as a PC solution for many ordinary users. The only (and reasonably significant) catch is that it needs a constant connection to the Internet to function.

    Again, once the device starts to have extra applications other than the browser, it ceases to be a viable solution. The industry fears its product will fail if it doesn't provide the world to the customer, and the customer is often grabbing at more than what he/she will ever use. Only if we accept the design rule that this is this device's specific purpose, and we learn to use it that way (and there is no severe handicap in that for regular users who just like to browse or read mails or play a little solitare - all of which you can do online), will portable PCs really find a mass market.

    • This is the first time I ever said this but please mod parent up.

      This guy exactly describes the kind of device that I've been looking for since - ever. No overkill with functions that I won't use, no UMD, no performance sacrifices for cramping more stuff in, but just the bare essence of it, which is accessing the web in a clean, efficient way.

      If this ever gets produced, I'll be the first to get it.
    • by robosmurf (33876) *
      The only (and reasonably significant) catch is that it needs a constant connection to the Internet to function.

      I think that this is actualy a showstopper problem.

      The whole point of a ultra-mobile device is that you can use the device anywhere. If it only works when you've got a signal, then it's useless in a lot of situations. For instance, you couldn't use it while travelling at all as you'd potentially keep losing your link.

      Similarly, you couldn't rely on it to store information if you are going to a busi
    • You just described a handheld thin client device, which while nice for some applications is worthless in parts of the world that have limited connectivity. It's worthless for the traveller who wants to be able to work offline, for that matter.
    • by HeyMe (935075)
      Make it about the same size as a steno pad (roughly 6" x 9" x about 3/4" thick), add bluetooth, a "webtop" app and a memory card slot and price it at $250 USD or less and I'll buy two!
  • What a misleading title! First of all, it is a couple-week-old news. And second, nobody is going to kill UMPC, it will not be targeting the consumer market anymore ($500-$1000 and 5"-7" screens), where MID takes its place. UMPC will still appeal to professionals, though, with screens bigger than 7" and pricetags of way above $1000...
  • The iPhone comes pretty damn close, but i still need a bluetooth commbadge.
  • This reminds me... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shemmie (909181) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @11:53PM (#18983637)
    ... when looking around the Microsoft Vista site for information about a future UMPC purchase, I stumbled across the Origami Experience Pack [microsoft.com] ( WGA validation required before downloading )

    It's available for download now, and contains three programs aimed at UMPC use on Vista. It comes with a Sudoku game (?), a "designed for UMPC" shell for movies, music, pictures and programs, and apparently some improved touch-screen functionality. Would be interested to hear feedback from those with UMPC's using this on Vista.
  • It's about time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cgenman (325138) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:40AM (#18983857) Homepage
    Disclaimer: I own an ultralight notebook, the smallest MP3 player I could find, a tiny car, and a Wii. I should be the target market for these things.

    However, they really didn't bother to actually test market these things before putting them out there. For one, the lack of a keyboard really limits usability. Heck, keyboards are becoming standard on phones these days. To not have a keyboard on a laptop replacement is silly.

    Two, they don't fit anywhere. They're way too big for a pocket, so you have to put them in a bag or backpack. At that point, you might as well just use a 3 lb Sony Vaio Tx [sonystyle.com], or a 4 lb Lenovo v [lenovo.com], or a 4.5 lb Dell Xps [dell.com] or one of many other ultralight portables out there. And really, that's the key: laptops are losing weight as fast as the balance between performance and price will allow.

    But worst of all, they never really had a use. They all take time to boot, so there isn't much use as a dayrunner. They have no keyboard, so word processing is out. And forget photoshop. What, exactly, are you supposed to do with one? Play halo? Web development?

    Ultimately, all of the tasks that were supposed to be delegated to the UMPC were actually far better served by high-end phones. Need e-mail, texting, intranet access to a client database, and synching to a desktop? Just get a treo. They're about 1,000 dollars cheaper, and they fit in your pocket.

    While I was intrigued by the concept, I won't be shedding a tear for the UMPC. They were far ahead of their time. Which is to say, someone was pushing them early in the hopes of making a quick buck.

    • by Shemmie (909181)
      I 'need' a UMPC due to a large amount of time spent travelling via train to and from work, that I could be spending productively. I've currently got a HTC Universal [engadget.com] PDA mobile phone - allowing me to edit Word docs, Excel, surf the net etc while on the go. However, my phone contract's up in August, and I'm looking for the next ideal purchase - and I think I've found it!

      The HTC Shift [mobilegazette.com] will provide a mobile phone in a Vista UMPC form-factor. apparently "it is about the same size as two DVD cases", yet featur
    • by trawg (308495)

      But worst of all, they never really had a use. They all take time to boot, so there isn't much use as a dayrunner. They have no keyboard, so word processing is out. And forget photoshop. What, exactly, are you supposed to do with one? Play halo? Web development?

      This is a REALLY EXCELLENT POINT.

      As the device size shrinks, so does the usability. Absence of a keyboard means quick input is effectively not possible, so a small device that you need to do a lot of input on is useless.

      I'm looking for a new mobile phone, and I want to get something that runs Windows Mobile that syncs with Outlook and runs a few other apps I've been using on my Ipaq. Unfortunately most of the ones that run Windows Mobile are all stylus-based - and thus very big.

      I don't want to do a lot of

    • Disclaimer: I own an ultralight notebook, the smallest MP3 player I could find, a tiny car, and a Wii.
      So, compensating for an extremely big *beep*, I assume?
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      However, they really didn't bother to actually test market these things before putting them out there. For one, the lack of a keyboard really limits usability. Heck, keyboards are becoming standard on phones these days. To not have a keyboard on a laptop replacement is silly.

      Two, they don't fit anywhere. They're way too big for a pocket, so you have to put them in a bag or backpack. At that point, you might as well just use a 3 lb Sony Vaio Tx, or a 4 lb Lenovo v, or a 4.5 lb Dell Xps or one of many other u

  • Ah, UMPC, we hardly knew you. ... in fact, that's probably one of the things that went wrong.
  • How many people read this as "Death of the UPMC" (local Pittsburgh hospital chain that has bought out every other hospital in the region to form a Microsoft-like monopoly).

    No one? That's what I thought.

  • I wrote a huge editorial on this subject [tabletblog.com] and what happens when Windows, Linux, and even Apple enter the UMPC market. The summary: When there is competition on any platform, the consumers end up the big winners. There is room in the market for all three platforms and the competition will push the backers of each to adopting this platform more.
  • by cjb110 (200521)
    As others have mentioned the UMPC was no use for real work and too big for portability. I think people that would be interested in this kind of device, would rather it was in their phone. Which is exactly what I'm looking for a phone with 3G/HSDPA, WiFi, a VGA screen and a keyboard. My reasoning is that there is no point in fast mobile internet if you can only read 'Slas' without scrolling:) Now I can find phones that have most of my requirements, what extra did the UMPC have? Storage, nope SD cards ar

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.

Working...