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Samsung Valiantly Tries to Save the UMPC Market

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samsung-q1ex-press-mar5After owning three Samsung Q1-series UMPCs, it’s fair to say that I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for the devices. That’s why my next statement may come as a surprise to many: I really don’t see the point of Samsung’s new Q1EX that just ran through the FCC gauntlet. I’m not suggesting that they won’t sell a few models at the expected $775 price. But that’s all they’ll sell: a few.

Why? Sadly, the UMPC market was niche to begin with back in 2006, and it’s more of a niche today. Netbooks and smartphones are all the rage, so investing time, effort, and money into a receding market simply doesn’t add up to me. Having said that, if the device is appealing to you, have at it, and I wish you well. I’m not impressed because I see little that’s new here from my Q1UP that’s more than a year old:

  • The 1.33GHz Intel (s INTL) Core Solo was pulled in favor of a 1.2GHz VIA Nano
  • A SiRF Star GPS receiver was added
  • Battery capacity dropped from a 6-cell 7800mAh battery to a 4-cell 4000mAh power pack.
  • Gone is the split QWERTY keyboard, making for a minimal slate look.

The UMPC still runs Microsoft (s MSFT) Windows XP Tablet Edition and offers nearly all of the same features of the prior model. Again, the die-hards out there might find some appeal here. I don’t, and I consider myself one of those same die-hards. If there were some innovation here I might feel differently.

10 Responses to “Samsung Valiantly Tries to Save the UMPC Market”

  1. I am sending this from my Q1-UP, a great device with Sierra HSDPA 2gb ram and Mtron 32gb SSD, really flys along and small and more mobile than netbooks. I can sit anywhere no tables and using touch screen keyboard is easy even with large thumbs!
    to bad Samsung have gone backwards. the Q1-UP could have been improved. There is a market for these but most people want cheap throw away gear. I will be using this Q1 for a long time. it rockets along now with SSD and XP.

  2. I use my Q1UP almost daily, it sits in a RAM mount on a microphone stand, near my easy chair. Good for reading news and doing quick chats, and also bluetooth-streaming to my stereo. It’s got enough CPU to run more than what I do and extremely long battery life.

    But I will admit at this point I’d probably favor a netbook instead.. keyboard and mouse are things you really need for quick typing and navigation.

    I think the new Samsung is probably a non-starter..

  3. Personally I still miss my 1st gen q1. I used that device so much. I sold it to help not loose my condo but I still lost it. I keep looking at Q1 Ultras and wish the ones with the 1.33GHz Intel Core Solo were cheaper. Maybe it will be a present to myself if I find a new job.

  4. jason lee

    i have a q1up…in uk….import charges of 100GBP

    well to buy a device like this ur gonna have forget about the money bit and think of the use
    i had q1up for 2 months and soo far its great
    unlike netbooks…i can easily play world of warcraft with the joystick and user defined keys,
    7-8 hours of battery life,
    and… i dont have to worry about the screen like normal laptops in back of taxis

    i had a look at the manual of the q1ex..compared to q1up

    q1ex….all button has been replaced to a scroll wheel on the side

    and there is no rgb
    (unless u have the organiser)

    and lastly…there is no mention of usb slot

    i think of this like a…..cheaper slim down version of a good q1u….but not great as q1up

  5. Scotty

    <y Samsung sits disused these days having been completely replaced by the Sony Vaio P. Sure, it has no touch screen. But 1.4lbs, no fan and long run time off ridiculously small capacity batteries (16WHr for the standard battery). But most importantly: no more whining about the screen resolution from Visual Studio et al… those extra 168 vertical pixels are worth the peace and quiet from applications uptight about working in 600 vertical pixels.

    Taking the keyboard out and putting in a whipped processor don’t make this latest spin of the Samsung more appealing to me.

    Also, the new spin of the Mac mini released yesterday prominently brags it only uses 13 watts. Well the Vaio P uses less than half that and has a screen in that power budget. I feel so green every time I use it.

    • Ah yes but it will fly. As a matter of fact it is perfect for flying. We mount this little gem on the yoke of our aircraft and use it to display approach charts, SIDs and STARs.

      You are right, for gammers, internet videos and other play time activities it is not what you want. However, for work activities like Word, Excel, and database apps it is GREAT.