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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What do you prefer for your mobile Internet solution, a shrunken PC or a non-PC?

That's the main question Daniel Gentleman asks readers in a very good article where he explains the differences between UMPCs and MIDs. Even when the title of his article could sound more like a Windows-Linux debate,  it's more between what works better for you in your everyday Internet Mobile needs, a shrunk PC or a non-PC.  Here is a comparison from Daniel's article that you can use to find what is better for you.

Now we have two potential mobile Internet solutions: Shrink a PC down to where it is mobile yet still usable (a UMPC) or build a non-PC device from the ground up (a MID or Internet Tablet) specifically for mobile Internet use.
Shrinking a PC

  • Advantages

    • Familiar interface

    • Vast commercial software base (supported by the software developers)

    • Vast expansion options and greater likelihood that your device will have compatible drivers

  • Disadvantages

    • Cost of PC class hardware

    • Cost of commercial operating system license

    • Constant compromises in either speed, size, or battery life. 

Building a mobile Internet device

  • Advantages

    • All hardware, software, and user interaction built to go together

    • Cheaper hardware and no operating system licensing costs

    • Wide community-based software and support

  • Disadvantages

    • Limitations in function

    • Learning curve for new interface and software

    • Often not as user-friendly as full PCs (either in interface or in application support)

Editor's Note: For me the answer is only one: a UMPC. I need more than Internet even in my daily job as news editor of this and other pages. I need to be able to manipulate pictures, run tools like Windows Live Writer, Frontpage, etc. For me to have a few "ported" applications is not enough if I can have virtually millions of them free or commercial. In my case going with Linux would be like going back to Windows CE. The reason why I bought my first UMPC was because the Pocket PC Platform was not powerful enough to cover all my needs. So... why go back to that same situation but with a different OS, in this case Linux which practically does not have any support.

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