The UMPCs are coming

Bill Gates and Intel CEO Paul Otellini set the stage last year with discussion about the Haiku and Ruby ultra-mobile prototypes. These ultra-mobile handheld computers fueled a lot of anticipation and discussion over the year as it began to look like such devices might be appearing sooner rather than later. Microsoft discussed the Ultra-mobile Lifestyle PC with partners last week and hinted that an announcement might be forthcoming from OEMs very soon. TG Daily has reported that Samsung, Asus and Founder will launch UMPCs this quarter, with a second wave of devices released in the second half of 2006 by LGE, ACER and Averatec. This second “generation” of devices will reportedly run Windows Vista, according to the article.

It is unknown what these UMPCs will likely cost, but with Intel backing the design it is almost certain that there will be good wireless support in whatever chipset is used. I know I am very excited about the UMPCs because when the price range gets down around the $500 mark as put forth by Microsoft at the Partner briefing, these devices will definitely go mainstream. And that’s a very good thing for both OEMs and consumers.

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