Walt Mossberg has written a review of the Samsung Q1 in The Wall Street Journal and not surprisingly he has problems with the UMPC.  Like other reviewers who don’t understand the platform one of his biggest problems with the Q1 is the lack of a keyboard.  […]

Walt Mossberg has written a review of the Samsung Q1 in The Wall Street Journal and not surprisingly he has problems with the UMPC.  Like other reviewers who don’t understand the platform one of his biggest problems with the Q1 is the lack of a keyboard.  He does mention you can connect an external keyboard to the Q1 but that it makes the device “ungainly”.  When are reviewers going to wake up to the fact that to make a true ultra-mobile device you have to ditch some components that you usually find in notebook computers.  It doesn’t have a DVD drive in it either, but if you start putting every component you normally find in notebook computers into ultra-mobile devices they quickly become not very ultra-mobile.  I much prefer to have a tiny core system with portable peripherals that I can carry or not as the situation warrants which means that the vast majority of the usage time I have the smallest package possible in my hands.

Mossberg’s main complaint about the Samsung Q1 is price, at $1099 he feels it is too expensive compared to laptop prices.  ORIGAMIS ARE NOT LAPTOPS.  They don’t even try to be but too many people are comparing the Origami prices to those of cheapo laptops.  You cannot carry a laptop half the places you can carry an Origami.  Period.  Walt does point out that ultra-portable laptops do tend to cost twice the price of the Q1 so he kind of kills off his own “too expensive” argument, at least in my view.

I am pretty sure that Mossberg has not carried the Q1 around for a few days and actually used one in practice.  Unfortunately this is what it takes for users to “see the light” about the utility and versatility of these small Tablet PCs.  I will be so glad when Origamis start shipping en masse and we start getting real hands-on reviews by the owners who obviously get it.


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    Correct, and they shouldn’t be priced like one. With the exception of increased portability and affordable tablet functionality the Q1 does not offer enough to offset the lack of power and keyboard input of other mini-notebooks at that price point for the majority of consumers. Get it to the $700 range and it’s a different story.

    Having said all that I still want one bad! :-)

  5. The only devices that are even close in portability are the OQO at close to $2,000 and the DualCor cPC which hasn’t appeared in public yet but was reported to be a $1,500 device. The OQO keyboard is not appropriate for heavy text entry anyway. Mini-notebooks are pretty much restricted to Asia and are almost always well over $2,000.

  6. Ben Reierson Thursday, May 4, 2006

    I completely agree with JK here. I much prefer carrying around the U750P with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse for when I need them, which is not all that often.

  7. Steve Paine Thursday, May 4, 2006

    Hi JK.
    You’re right about the quality of these early reviews. A lot of them are the same. They are reviewed by people who simply compare them to what they know and seem to have tried the device, photographed it and written the article in less than a day.
    I can’t help thinking though that the keyboard IS going to be an issue. I, for one, am not that interested in having to write with a pen again. (To be brutally honest, my writing skills are now almost non-existant. I wrote three birthday cards this morning and my hand started to ache!!!) A report I heard on the radio last month in the UK said that only 20% of text is done with pen and paper. The rest is keyboard input.
    The dial-keys will work for simple input but people will need to use these devices for advanced text input and without some sort of flip-down, snap-on or stowable keyboard, it will be hard to justify. OK, one can buy an third-party keyboard but one of the target markets is the lifestyle market (2nd PC at home for living room, bedroom, car etc.) where style is very very important. Taking a folding keyboard out of your rucksack and plugging it (or new batteries) in, is time consuming and clumsy.

    Sorry for long comment!!


  8. Anton P. Nym Thursday, May 4, 2006

    I’m starting to classify reviews like that as “And A Pony” reviews; they start piling up lists of things that aren’t on a model without stopping to consider how practical it would be to include them, sort of like a kid’s Santa list.

    Of course, WSJ isn’t exactly a hot-bed of first-adopter types; they’ll recognise success after it has struck (witness their full-page article on Machinima last year, of all things) but aren’t always the fastest on picking up what will work in the future and what won’t. (I’m not a subscriber, so I can’t search their archives to be certain, but I seem to recall them dissing iPods in roughly the same manner.)

    — Steve

  9. The UMPC market is a niche within a niche… they’re not for mainstream consumers as mainstream media is pointing out. Personally, I have no desire for one and doubt they will be big seller. I’d rather have a convertible tablet to use in whichever form is appropriate for the setting.. I want fewer devices, not more.

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