Open letter to PC Mag

First off, I have to say , I’m a huge fan of Cisco Cheng and PC Mag. I should also disclose that PC Mag ran an article I collaborated on for the 12/5/06 issue. Having said that, I’m disappointed in the article “Another Let Down: Hands On With The Samsung Q1P-SSD”. I’ll attempt to leave opinion out where I can, but I should also state that I’ve used a Samsung Q1 UMPC as my primary computing device since May of last year; I’ve written no less than 50 unique pieces about the device. As such, I’d say I’m as qualified as Cisco on this device. ;)

1.       It’s still a bulky slate”. Other than other UMPCs, the Samsung Q1 is among the smallest slate tablets in mass production. It’s thinner (less than 1-inch thick) and as light as most other UMPCs such as the Asus R2H (which is very brick-like) and the Amtek 700 based units. This quote simply isn’t accurate. How does it compare to full sized slates? I’ve used them and “bulky” just doesn’t apply here.

2.       “If you want to do text input, you can either use the virtual thumb board, which isn’t as effective, or attach a USB keyboard, adding yet another device to your backpack.”  This statement is wrong on several levels. First; the article never specifies what operating system the Q1 runs and that’s important to this point. Current units run Windows XP Tablet Edition 2005 while the newer units will run Windows Vista. Why is this important? Both operating systems offer a method of text input that the unit is designed for: handwriting and inking. This is a Tablet PC, so to write off the text input with two average methods and not mention the native method is a mistake. Additionally, I use a Bluetooth keyboard when needed, so there’s a fourth option; yes, that will require the carrying of another device and is a good point in the article.

3.       It comes with both touch screen and Wacom digitizer screen for a decent tablet experience”. I was at the CES as well, but I didn’t hear anything about the Wacom digitizer screen. This unit, as far as I know (and I’ll admit I could be wrong) is a touch screen device just like the prior UMPCs. In fact, the Microsoft-Intel Origami spec requires a touch screen; not an active digitizer. Is this in fact a multi-input Tablet PC with both active and passive digitizers? One would think so from the article, but again, I’m not so sure.

I apologize if I seem harsh or a “Samsung Q1 fanboy”, but the UMPC market is already misunderstood and misrepresented. Consider me a UMPC enthusiast and writer on the topic. Ironically, after my last article for PC Mag, I was going to pitch some additional article ideas. I’m sure that after my mini-tirade above, that’s out of the question, but…..if you’re interested in some different perspectives on the UMPC and Tablet PC scene, please let me know as I’m looking to expand my authoring opportunities.

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