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Monday, July 16, 2007

UMPCs according Australian IT

It's clear to me that the author of this article from Australian IT  does not know Hugo Ortega but still, I found this article to be very interesting. For example, I think they got right the reasons why to love them while I disagree in the majority of the reasons why to avoid them. I would call those mainly, reasons to be considered for those thinking about to buy a UMPC.

• They're small: Unlike many laptops, they won't weigh you down when traveling. Most tip the scales at less than a kilogram.

• They're powerful: Because they're built around a grunty processor and run a fully fledged operating system, they handle most tasks you throw at them.

• They're connected: With a combination of USB, ethernet, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, you can quickly connect to just about anything in the home, office or car.

• They store heaps: Equipped with up to a 60GB hard disk, the little devices swallow documents, audio and video files with ease.

• They're versatile: Why carry round separate devices to play music, watch DVDs, surf the web or store your contacts when you can do all these things on one device?

• They don't have a keyboard: If you need to input a lot of text or data, not having a full keyboard will soon become tiresome.

• Their battery life is limited: Early models struggled to keep going for much more than an hour. This has improved, but expect to be looking for a powerpoint fairly regularly.

• The screen is small: A 7in screen might be bigger than the one on your mobile phone, but it's not a lot of real estate for getting serious work done.

• They don't fit in most pockets: Unless you're wearing an overcoat with large pockets, you'll have to carry the device in a bag.

• Wait till they get cheaper: As the sun rises each day, so will prices of such devices eventually fall.

I also find very interesting the opinions of some executives and experts from Dell and HP.

Dell Australia client computing strategist Jeff Morris says his company spends a lot of time talking to customers about what they want, and UMPCs are not coming up in many conversations.

"The market is clearly dictating that this is not a product they are ready for," he says. "It's what we call a tweener, sitting between a notebook and a PDA, and you have to make a lot of trade-offs in screen size and performance." Dell will watch the UMPC bracket closely, but Morris doesn't think it will take off and represent large volumes of sales anytime soon.

Hewlett-Packard Australia commercial notebooks market development manager Janet Bradburn says UMPCs are a "talking point" but that's not translating into real demand for the devices.

"We are still seeing it more as hype than customer demand," she says. "A new shape always attracts interest but customers are still looking for something slightly larger.

"Some will take up the product, but I think it will be a very low percentage."

So, what about the rumor of Dell secretly making a UMPC? Well, to me is clear one thing, the market have been asking for small PCs since some time ago. If you don't believe me ask Sony. And I really think that Dell and HP are losing a great opportunity to make a lot of money. And if you don't think so, then ask Samsung. Why a company like Samsung keeps making UMPCs if there is not a market for such devices? I definitely think that Hugo should visit these guys at Australian IT and clarify them what a UMPC is and how this concept has been for a while in the market. And the most important thing, that there is a market for these devices.

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