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Intel Microsoft Portables Hardware

Death of the UMPC? 127

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."
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Death of the UMPC?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2007 @09:46PM (#18982805)
    ...but they have the temerity to pooh-pooh the iPhone?

    Hey, while we're at it, how's those tablet PC sales, guys?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Holmwood ( 899130 ) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @11:28PM (#18983489)
    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 devices are 320x200 or 320x400. As others have mentioned, the Nokia N800 is one of the few that fits the bill in price and resolution.

    Of course, is there need for such devices? It's hard to say. The Nokia internet tablets have been successful, though not wildly so, and are generally held to lack polish and reliability.

    Obviously Intel thinks they have a shot at higher resolution low cost devices. They could be right.
  • 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.
  • by WasterDave ( 20047 ) <(moc.pekdez) (ta) (pevad)> on Friday May 04, 2007 @04:05AM (#18985023)
    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" mac. Both are funky and cool things. Also both things for a reputation for actually working, unlike Redmond's recent products. Besides, you saw the demos, right? Doesn't WinCE look ... well ... sort of Russian after that? Like how Window 3 and green screen terminals looked next to each other.

    My point is, I think, that it has nothing to do with practicality.

  • Re:Great. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tim Browse ( 9263 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @08:05AM (#18986289)

    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.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell