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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

UMPC Market Status

CCID Consulting is a Chinese consulting company that recently has published this article about UMPCs: 

Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) is a product that falls between PCs and mobile phones. It has been several years since this concept was first put forward and more than a year that since UMPC products were placed on the market. The response has been no cause for optimism. Currently, UMPC user groups are rather monolithic. In the personal consumption market, its users are mainly business people who have high requirements for portability and players, and who are enthusiastic about new devices. The industry market itself has high requirements for its handheld equipment, such as transportation (traffic police/civil aviation), public security, logistics and high-end catering services. In addition to high requirements for the product, applications for it are still often in an exploratory stage. Purchases are not big.

Currently, UMPC faces several of the following development problems:

1. Price. Compared with the popular price of mobile phone, UMPC's minimum price of over 7,000 Yuan and maximum price of almost 20,000 Yuan are a little too high for most interested consumers. Especially with notebook prices continuing to fall, UMPC has no price advantage.

2. Battery life. Battery life is one of UMPCs' fatal weaknesses. Its often stressed portability/multi-functionality all require battery support. However, current UMPCs only have a use time of 3-5h, far from meeting the long duration/multi-thread processing needs, let alone entertainment and other additional functions. In addition, high heat diffusion caused by high integration levels is also a problem in need of solving.

3. Marketing channels. The sales channels chosen for UMPCs is different from other related products such as PCs, mobile phones and digital products and is an important factor that affects product promotion.

4. Product maturity and recognition. Currently, UMPCs are still in an exploratory stage. Its output display, dimensions and functions all need to be improved. Also, mainstream PC firms such as HP, Dell and Lenovo have yet to introduce relevant products. There are few users who truly understand the product.

5. Functions. The current UMPC products on the market only have the functions of an ordinary PC. GPS and digital TV receiving functions, which have been used abroad, have not been fully applied to the new products. Additionally, the product is somewhat difficult to operate. Several keyboard models need to be attached. The connection mode also needs to be improved.

Currently, upstream firms including Microsoft, Intel, VIA and AMD all have been paying more attention to UMPCs. OEM firms are also adjusting their corresponding product lines. If product prices can be lowered to a certain extent, personal demand will grow in an explosive manner. Sectors such as government, healthcare and energy would likely increase inputs into mobile terminals. In this way, market prospects looks promising. Of course, in addition to the impact of notebook PCs with falling prices and nicer exterior designs, UMPCs also face competition from mobile phones, Blackberries and other smart mobile phones. It is believed that if UMPC can truly solve the above problems, it can find its place in the seam between PCs and mobile phones. In other words, it is possible that the three can be integrated into one body.

Interesting article. That's all can say beside that I agree that if price of these devices goes down we are going to see the demand grow in an explosive manner.

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