More on UMPCs replacing high end Pocket PC's

, posted: 22-Mar-2006 00:07

Since my post yesterday, there have been a few people (including JK) who have linked through and some comments both in agreement and not.

I guess I should clarify what I mean by high end Pocket PC.  I agree that the Pocket PC will be around for some time to come.  I think though that devices such as the HP iPAQ 4700, Dell Axim X51V and similar devices will be displaced largely by the UMPC - particularly as the form factor and capabilities of the UMPC evolve.

Depending on who's definition of a PDA you subscribe to (I prefer Gartners) - the market share of non phone PDAs is shrinking right now.  Indeed the non cellular Pocket PC's are being slowly replaced with Pocket PC Phone edition devices or smartphones.  So to consider that whats left of this maket could be soaked up by the UMPC is not an altogether far cry.

There are two key draw cards for buyers of large form factor Pocket PC's - the larger screen size in the portable form factor - both of which the UMPC delivers.

Having said that, there are two primary reservations around this that anyone might legitimately have.

The first is the size - those who have a larger form factor device probably dont want it to get bigger, so in this sense a UMPC might not be really attractive. I think the size limitation will be offset by the presence of qwerty keyboards on Pocket PC's and Smartphones, which will enable easier data entry on those devices, while allowing them to get smaller (again not everyone likes tiny keyboards) - so I think that smaller devices should solve this in part.  In addition the size of UMPC devices should be offset by the additional functionality and improved data entry options - which should solve the other part of this reservation.

The second reervation around the UMPC is that it will have no where near the battery life of a Pocket PC.  However, there are hardware changes coming later this year that will help this problem considerably (although I dont think they are public yet).  So while this will be an issue for the first generation devices, I doubt it will be for future generations.

Sure it wont happen right now, or even this year, but by the end of next year I think larger form factor Pocket PCs will be extremely rare - and part of that will be because of UMPC's. 

We'll have to wait and see if I'm right.

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Darryl Burling
New Zealand

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