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Thursday, June 14, 2007

My UMPC is more than a Companion PC.

I have been involved recently in many arguments about performance and battery life and that made me think about myself back in 2006 when the Origami Concept was being constantly attacked by the press and one of the things they were saying was that OEMs were using weak processors in Origamis. And I replied many times back then that UMPCs were companion PCs no designed or thought to replace your main PC at home.

Well, Today I have to admit that I was wrong. The processors used in the first generation of UMPC were good enough in the majority of cases, as you can see from the video attached to this article. But they have one problem, battery life. I wont say that this is a small problem. This is a huge problem in our modern life.  But like I have said before, you have many things that you can do to stay unplugged from power the whole day, but you can't do anything to increase performance once you reach the point where your UMPC is fully optimized.

I was wrong when I said that UMPCs are just Companion PCs. Why? Well because when you own one and you start to use it, soon you will discover that you can't live without one of these gadgets. You will enter in a state where you want to use only your UMPC. It's so comfortable after all to use it in literally everywhere that you wont turn on your main PC at home anymore.

To think like some companies are thinking that UMPC are designed for Internet and a little bit of document editing is too... simplistic. In current time everything is more complex. Let's take blogging. Who is going to visit a blog without pictures or without a few little videos? Blogging is about mobility! I like to blog when I feel that I have something to say and that happens in the most uncommon places sometime. Do I have to wait to get home to turn on my PC to get my short video edited or to insert some watermark into my pictures? Come on!

Games... I saw the other day a video from VIA demonstrating how they can play Quake III in a OQO 02. And I have conflicting reactions with that video. Who the heck is going to connect a UMPC to a full size keyboard and a mouse to play Quake in a UMPC? That's not what gamers want! Young people want to be able to take the UMPC in the way they are and play Hallo like they are playing it in a PSP! Yes, the OQO 02 can handle Quake III. That's good. VIA is getting better. But that's not enough. is there any company that has analyzed how to use the integrated keyboard in this second generation of UMPC to remap some keys to replace the normal use of those keys by the functionality of the keys in a game controller? has any OEM checked how many potential users ask for how good UMPC are from the point of view of games? Because this is one of the most common questions that I have been asked since 2006. And I'm not a gamer. If I'm talking about this is because like I said, people are asking me these kind of questions. No Microsoft, Sudoku does not enter in the category of games that young people want to play. And that brings the same problem again. Current UMPC are not powerful enough to handle most of the games that teenagers want to play. They do not have the power and they have not been optimized to be used as a portable game station. And they do not want a new portable play station. All they want is a real UMPC that they can take everywhere with all those programs and games that they have in their home PCs.

And now we have Vista. The Operating System with the best handwriting recognition I have seen. But... what a shame, people are downgrading their brand new Samsung Q1Us because some wise person decided to cut down a processor to increase battery life and another very wise person decided to use that weaken processor with Vista. Thanks God that that last person reanalyzed the idea of using a processor at 600 MHz with Vista! 

Performance is needed as much as battery life is needed!

Forget about that stupid idea about UMPCs being the next Nokia N800 in the market. That's the simplistic idea that I have back at the beginning of 2006 and like I have being saying from the beginning on this article I  W-A-S  W-R-O-N-G. And I was wrong because this is how I ended using my UMPC:

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