UMPC: The end of High End Pocket PC's

, posted: 20-Mar-2006 22:28

Kevin captured something that had been ticking around in my head for the last week or two, but hadn't quite set yet (like concrete - sometimes I have thoughts that take time to set).

The UMPC will probably mean that the larger form factor Pocket PC's will dissapear over time.  This of course makes perfect sense, given that the larger Pocket PC's fill a niche that would be better served with a UMPC - i.e. something that has a form factor big enough to use comfortably, but powerful enough to do most tasks with.  Unfortunately high end Pocket PC's have largely failed in the latter regard - as they just dont have the power to easily handle applications that you'd want in the larger form factor.  Not to mention that most of these devices dont have phone functionality, so they are not even connected all the time.

I think it will be interesting to see how UMPC devices with 3G capabilities affect the market too.  I dont see these things taking on phone capabilities (except VOIP), but 3G data capabilities holds some VERY interesting possibilities - and its here that I see the biggest changes coming - think bluetooth, IM/VOIP and 3G in the one fairly small bundle with an onscreen touch keyboard...

Just need to get the battery industry to catch up - this will be their biggest weakness... especially in first generation devices.

Other related posts:
Is this my next UMPC?
UMPC's coming to NZ
Local coverage and a Vista TIP tip

Comment by Steve Paine, on 21-Mar-2006 02:24

"[pocket pcs'] dont have the power to easily handle applications that you'd want in the larger form factor" Thats an interesting statement. The Origami has obviously been specified with some pre-requisites. One of these is obviously 'Windows XP." If what you want to do on a UMPC is use existing windows XP software, then you'll need all the power and memory that the Origami offers. If, however, you want to watch videos, create documents, do IM, some advanced browsing etc. then you don't need XP and you dont need an Origami hardware spec. Unfortunately for us, MS made the choice to go with an XP OS rather than to build on something like WinCE. (Windows Mobile 6?) Nokia are coming in from the other direction and have no pre-specified applications. This approach is giving them more freedom with hardware and power-budget. Personally, I consider a 624Mhz Xscale with 2700G GPU more than enough to fulfill the requirements of an Origami-like device. Pepperpad have done it with exactly that CPU spec and a Linux distribution. Shame that the device is over priced and over sized! Regards Steve

Comment by travel-poet, on 25-Mar-2006 09:23

Am I the only one who feels that UMPC/Origami is taking the wrong approach here? I agree that UMPC probably spells the end of large WinCE devices (as far as any are left at this point). But I think it's a loss. To me, anything smaller than a subnotebook needs to have 3 characteristics to be appealing: It needs to be lightweight, instant-on, and have extremely long battery life, i.e. 8 hours or more. These are things that WinCE devices could easily accomplish at this point (even the ancient NEC MobilePro 790 came close). As far as I can tell, the technology is here to create a flash-memory-based device that would be capable of everything that Origami claimed but now can't deliver. It seems that Microsoft has abandoned the idea of a leaner Windows except in phones and as a result we are looking at windows-based machines with 7 inch screens that will be able to do anything but will also be too heavy, too expensive and have too little battery life to really carry them around wherever you go--which I think was the idea behind Origami in the first place.

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Darryl Burling
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Laridian Pocket Bible
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Ilium eWallet
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