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Summary:

UMPC Portal notes something that I’ve been watching for months. The trend for searches using the term UMPC is in vast decline. As a mobile technology community, this can’t be surprising to any regular readers. As much I as enjoyed the three UMPCs that I purchased, […]

umpc-google-trends
UMPC Portal notes something that I’ve been watching for months. The trend for searches using the term UMPC is in vast decline. As a mobile technology community, this can’t be surprising to any regular readers. As much I as enjoyed the three UMPCs that I purchased, the device itself “got in the way” for mainstream consumers of effectively using it — ink entry just doesn’t work well on resistive touchscreens. Then of course there were the price challenges, and hardware that wasn’t quite mature enough for most folks.

Prices are down now and the hardware has matured. The addition of a small but very usable keyboard enabled far easier content creation. Yup, I’m talking about netbooks. Even with a soft spot in my heart for UMPCs, they did fail. But they succeeded at the same time. They succeeded in creating the platform that evolved into today’s netbooks. They drove hardware manufacturers and chipmakers to increase power efficiency without a total sacrifice of processing power.

In the above chart, I compared the trends for UMPC, netbook and MIDs in 2008. I would have carried it into 2009, but the netbook trend grows so much that it makes the other two terms almost meaningless by comparison. Based on the results, I feel reaffirmed that MID is essentially a silly term. It’s likely that only mobile tech enthusiasts use it and the majority of consumers have never even heard of it. By simple definition, any mobile device that has Internet capability is a MID. That would include all smartphones and probably a good chunk of feature phones, too. Internet browsing might not be optimal on those devices, but surely they’re MIDs.

Regardless of the trends and names, I say thank you, UMPC. You paved the way and laid the groundwork for mobile computing for the next several years to come.

  1. Perhaps the manufacturers have given up (prematurely in my opinion) making the ideal UMPCs. I own a Gigabyte M704 and really like it. However, there’s plenty of room to improve it and ingenious devices like the HTC Shift, and Sharp Willcom D4. Netbooks don’t work as hand-held devices and are not nearly as mobile and flexible as UMPCs. It will be a shame if UMPCs lose their sliding keyboards and just become large, more general-purpose computing iPhones/MIDs.

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  2. UMPC’s have thus far been all the wrong size and shape to ever attract most people to want one. They have either been too large to fit in a pocket or if they were small enough they lacked a real keyboard.

    What we need to see is a UMPC that is jacket size with a reasonable touch type keyboard. That could be done with just a simple clamshell desing like a Psion 5mx or HP Jornada 720 size/shape computer. Or it could be more creative version with multifolds like the Dragonfly idea. Until a UMPC provides a touch type keyboard they will continue to die a slow death. What is ironic is there is a huge market for such a computer but thus far the companies are clueless as to making a UMPC most would buy.

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  3. “They have either been too large to fit in a pocket”

    Good. A PC small enough to fit in a pocket would be too hard to use for most people. Most people don’t have eagle vision.

    And batteries wear out faster if you keep them close to your body.

    I don’t understand why people ask for a pocket sized PC. It wouldn’t work

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