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Summary:

CarryPad indicated word that the DualCor cPC was beginning to ship out to resellers only to have a commenter named "DualCor" indicate  that the unit is not shipping in the U.S. yet as the device is not finalized. For a device that had expected availability in […]

Dualcor_1CarryPad indicated word that the DualCor cPC was beginning to ship out to resellers only to have a commenter named "DualCor" indicate  that the unit is not shipping in the U.S. yet as the device is not finalized. For a device that had expected availability in the first quarter of 2006. We’re now into the 3rd quarter of 2006, but still no device (and still no integrated wireless connectivity of any kind either); not only will this be a case of "too little, too late" when the device is finally spotted in the wild, but I’m still failing to see the point of the device at all.

Let’s assume for a second that the CarryPad tip was accurate and that you could pick up a DualCor device today; let’s also assume the device is roughly $1600 to $1800; it may be slightly more or less, but this is a safe range. Who is it for? I’d say it’s a niche product WITHIN a niche audience and here’s why.

We already have a small, ultra-portable market and product out there called the UMPC based on the Origami reference design. Above that we have a small notebook market and below that we have a handheld phone device market. Remember that the cPC from DualCor aims for this handheld market as well as the UMPC market. Sounds great since you have a full Windows Mobile device and a Windows XP device in one. But why?

You can’t use Windows XP in a mobile setting for too long as the battery is around a 20 Watt/hour capacity. For reference, the Tablet Kiosk eo holds a 26 W/Hr battery and the Samsung Q1 sports a 29 W/Hr battery. In my mind, with a 1.5 GHz Via processor, I’d expect the cPC to get around 1.5 to 2 hours of battery life as a computer at best.

How about one of the biggest UMPC beefs by the masses: no integrated keyboard? We get around that with inking, which the cPC can do although on a 5-inch screen, it will be a challenge. We also add keyboards as I’ve done with a Bluetooth keyboard. Oh wait, Bluetooth requires a wireless connection, something the cPC doesn’t have natively. You’re not completely SOL because you can add a USB keyboard or you can add a BT dongle, but good mobile computing design today practically mandates this type of wireless connection.

Let’s think about the Windows Mobile side of the house now. I’ve used a Pocket PC or Windows Mobile device for over 6 years, so this aspect is appealing to me. Then I started thinking about what I use my current device for and put a short list together in order of priority and usage.

  • E-mail
  • Phone calls
  • TXT messages
  • eBook downloading and reading
  • Occasional web surfing
  • PIM data
  • Podcast listening

Out of these main features, the only one I can do natively with the cPC is almost the lowest on my list: PIM data. Everything else requires some type of connectivity that the cPC doesn’t have natively; there’s no 3G connectivity, no cellular connectivity, not even WiFi, which again is a staple of mobile computing devices.

Let’s get back to my original thought: the cPC is a niche product WITHIN a niche market. The niche market is the market for handheld computing devices, because let’s face it: a majority of computer users are not mobile in the sense that they need something smaller than a standard laptop. True mobile users are in the computing minority; I’m not naive enough to think otherwise. So, we’ve established that there’s a niche market. Based on the thoughts above, the cPC is clearly a niche product within that market because it’s semi-functional for a small amount of computer users.

At this point, I see the cPC as a case of much too little and way too late. Will they sell any of the devices? Sure they will once it finally gets to market. However, instead of making a big splash the mobile pond as the device seemed poised to do at the beginning of the year, I suspect we’ll barely see a ripple in the pond by the end of the year.

-kct

  1. I’ve been waiting to hear your thoughts on this. I can’t say I’m surprised at anything you state.

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  2. The main reason why somebody would like to have the DualCor cPC is called “instant on” when using CE ;)

    In the rest I’m agree with what you are saying. Too expensive and too late.

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  3. But… In another hand in agree with what WhatisNew said in one of their last article. Anything that enter in the category of Small Form Factor Device is welcome because that will help the UMPC and Tablet PC community too. ;-)

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  4. Frank, all Windows Mobile devices have “instant on” since they’re never actually turned off. If the XP side were “instant on”, that might help, provided you don’t need any native connectivity, that is! ;)

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  5. Tablet PC User Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    I agree with you Kevin. The DualCor cPC is really for a small market share. I think of my uses of my converged pocket pc and I only like it because it:

    1) has a VERY long battery life. I’ve gone 2 days without a charge; my wife’s Treo gives her about 3 days before charging.

    2) it provides about 70-80% of the functionality of my Tablet PC.

    However, wireless connectivity (even if it is slow) is better than nothing or an add-on. The other thing is that many people today are looking at things that are physically pleasing to the eye (i.e. eye-candy). IMO the DualCor cPC isn’t very pretty when compared to the Q1!

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  6. Did I miss something or have we all forgotten that DualCor is in fact targeting a specific audience? They’re aiming at *segments* of the enterprise and government markets, not commercial or consumer. They’re not even selling to consumers except through resellers. C’mon Kevin.

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  7. I knew I read somewhere something about an extended battery and attachable keyboard.
    http://www.dlmag.com/753/dualcor-handtop-cpc-revisited.html?page=2

    Actually, I think I first read about the keyboard here:
    http://jkontherun.blogs.com/jkontherun/2006/01/first_allinone_.html

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  8. Sumocat, you are correct that DualCor seems to be going after the enterprise and government market but let’s be realistic. They first shot to public awareness by demonstrating and issuing their initial press release at the CES. Consumers have a right to an expectation that if a company demonstrates its wares at a Consumer Electronics Show that they intend to excite end-users, not enterprises. They seem to have changed their tune many times over the past 7 months.

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