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Thursday, May 15, 2008

What is an UMPC?

Today I was writing at todoUMPC about how UMPC has became a wider concept than what Microsoft and Intel thought almost 2 years ago.  And what a coincidence, my friend Warner from Gottabemobile was chewing something like that probably about the same time.  The only problem is that Warner seems to have a different opinion about what is going on.

...The graphic on the Wikipedia page does speak volumes and completely lays bare the entire marketing fiasco that this whole thing has become. The bottom line is this. Events, Intel, Apple, and Asus have outrun Microsoft when it comes to defining the ultra-portable market. Create as many acronyms and designations as you want, but no one cares. Microsoft was just too slow in capitalizing on the original UMPC vision and is now trying hard to play catch up with its ULCPC designation...

...Microsoft is either ceding the ground to other players, or is content to wait a few years before attempting a come back in this market with any real effect. Maybe after they have some sort of OS that can work with these devices.

Here is what I think.

I won't call UMPC a marketing Fiasco. The whole Origami Concept serves to show OEMs that there was a market share for devices with displays between 5 and 7 inches. Now that OEMs found that market share they have came with multiple designs, some of them without touch screen. And that's the problem. The original concept of UMPC from Microsoft and Intel said that UMPC included a touch screen. But here is the problem, Ultra Mobile PC. Where the heck is the touch screen or something pointing to a touch screen on this name? As far as I can understand an Asus Eee is an Ultra Mobile PC. It's one of the smaller PCs in the market which makes it automatically in Ultra Mobile.

So basically, the UMPC have became or evolved into a big family of devices running a PC OS with screens between 5 to 7 inches.

About a OS specially designed for them. I really don't want that. I don't like the idea. I have been a PDA owner for a long time and one of the reason why I'm now a proud UMPC owner is because I was tired to deal with special software designed for PDAs and the conversion of files to PDA format (either Palm or Windows CE). I don't think that we need another different software world for UMPC. What we need is an evolution of current processors. Something that VIA has understood a lot better than Intel.

Instead of creating an OS that can work in UMPC what they have to come out is with a UMPC that can work with current OS. That will make the life of everybody a lot easier.

So basically... What is a UMPC? A year ago I would say... a device with a touch screen between 5 to 7 inches running a PC Operating System. Today... I would leave it on "a device with a screen between 5 to 7 inches running a PC Operating System". From there you can have sub categories like mini Tablet PCs or mini Notebooks. In mini Tablets we have two sub categories: with active or passive digitizer. That's all. But I doubt that the normal buyer - not a geek like us - will go deeper in the UMPC category. They will buy a UMPC. So... after all my friend Chippy from UMPCPortal was right all this time trying to show me what the UMPC was all about.