The point reviewers are missing about Ultra-mobile PCs


I have been posting this in comment threads on a number of websites so it made sense to post it here on jkOnTheRun once and for all:

Ultra-mobile PCs, and I use any small PC in this description and not necessarily just Origami/ UMPCs, are about opportunity and freedom of expression to me. Yesterday I was at my son’s baseball tournament, 3 games back to back spanning almost 8 hours. I took my Sony U71 with me in it’s little portfolio case and when 30 unexpected minutes between games (waiting for umps to show up) presented themselves I was able to pull the Sony out, check email, check my web site, and begin writing an article for jkOnTheRun. I did not lament the fact I didn’t have a keyboard with me, I reveled in the opportunity that having a PC I could carry to that venue allowed me to get some useful time out of what would otherwise have been wasted time.

Last week I was having lunch in a local restaurant and an idea for an article struck me while sitting there. I pulled out the Sony and pen and started fleshing out the structure for the article with ink when it became clear to me I needed to do some heavy writing while the ideas were floating fresh in my mind. I pulled out a portable wireless keyboard, and in 5 seconds was writing the actual article. In ten minutes I had captured the very essence of what I wanted to say in the piece, and only because I could carry the Sony in with me and actually use it in a location with limited space. That’s my freedom of expression that would NOT have happened had I used a laptop because it would have been left in my office.

This is what the current rash of reviewers are missing about the UMPC. It is about the mobility that provides opportunity to exercise the freedom of expression in places that would otherwise not occur.




Frank, hopefully that battery life will improve for you. The pre-production unit I was evaluating did not have power management enabled yet I got around 2 hours out of it. I carry an extra battery with me for my mobile devices if I need them to run all day and the UMPC is no different. The standard batteries are no doubt very small and as you have stated the extended battery will be availabe from TK soon. Very few people actually use their mobile device for hours on end. I have two batteries for my Sony U and never run dry, same with my HP tc1100 Tablet PC. Get a second battery and carry it in a pocket or something.

Stephen Brandon

I agree. Up until I got my degree, often I bought lighter PCs from the previous generation as a mobile companion to a desktop, because I noticed early on two simple truths: one, the lighter the PC, the more likely it is I’ll have it with when it would be useful; and, two, when I’m away from my desk, I use very basic programs. One’s mobile comp isn’t the same as a desktop. It’s a companion to the desktop which allows the usefulness of a comp in more aspects of one’s life than just sitting at a desk. The more portable and robust the formfactor a mobile comp has, the more places you’ll find you can be productive.

I’m now using a TC1100 in slate mode and carry a ThinkOutside bluetooth keyboard for the few times I need a keyboard. The problem with most of the reviews I’ve seen of the UMPC is that the reviewers seem determined to review the UMPC in comparison with laptops, blackberries, ect. instead of taking the UMPC as a new form factor–one best compared with small tablets; but too often, these are the same kind of reviers who didn’t understand tablets. In its own category, the UMPC is very, very impressive, and I’m looking forward to buying the via based Samsung when it comes out and using it as my new *mobile* comp and desktop companion.

frank j

JK, but there is a problem. You can’t really talk about mobility
when you are getting 1 hour and 25 mins max of battery life. ;)

Mel Buckpitt

James I agree with you but there are other things the reviewers have missed. I would recommend that anyone interested in the UMPC debate undertake a little research. Check out the websites and take time to understand how the manufacturers, and this includes Microsoft, sees the value and the use of the UMPC. Then critically evaluate the concept and then their products against the stated concept. To simply state that this needs a DVD, keyboard etc, without taking time to understand the concept is, as I have said before, like complaining that I cant get the kids and the shopping into the Ferrari. To be clear I am not saying that the UMPC is a Ferrari. The Samsung Q1 website talks about digital convergence and the limitations of existing devices, so does the Q1 bridge this gap? Is there need to bridge this gap? The reviewers have never answered this basic question but have suggested utopia is acheived through the use of keyboards and DVD drives. Perhaps I am missing something but to me the reviews lack objectivitiy, analysis and rational conclusions.

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