It seems as though my Tablet PC travels have caught the attention of Bjorn Sstromberg, of the UltraMobileLife.com blog. When I did some exploration, and more interesting still, I found out that Bjorn is Employed by VIA Technologies, Inc and writes the UltraMobileLife blog as he keeps VIA's watchful eye over the Tablet movement. Thank you Bjorn for showing interest in Australia, and in what I do, and for running such a thorough blog yourself. In this post I want to describe just how much effort is going into this thing called "Tablet PC in Australia."
So Monday was a massive day. Both eo and I headed to the airport for a 6:30am departure with no intention of returning home until 11:30pm that same evening. Our destination, Melbourne, was still somewhat of a mystery to us both. As the lady in the terminal with the sweet voice bellows: "last call for all passengers flying to Melbourne," eo and I quickly finish our McDonald’s breakfast and make our way to Gate 49.
I land at the Melbourne domestic terminal and witness the runway crew performing a rather good impersonation of Antarctic Explorer's, rugged up and looking very concerned for their own well being; unfortunately I too was to receive a strong dose of the Melbourne climate. As the mobile staircase pulled up to my plane I made sure that my tie was tight, and my shirt tucked in...ouch! I really like Melbourne, a lot. Melbourne is similar in many ways to Europe in that its people are extremely multicultural. The weather, obviously, does its best to imitate the European winters, albeit not as strong. It’s the smell of the marvelous Melbourne cuisine that wins most hearts though…Oh! Tablets.
I picked up my hire care, as requested with Satellite Navigation, and made my way to the Central CBD. After catching up with a friend for breakfast (Jarrod Thomas of Centralite) I made my way across the road from the General Post Office, in the heart of the City. For appropriate reasons I will not disclose their name but lets just say this little store happily runs a staff of 20 plus in a premise that normally survives with 4 retail staff only. After my meeting we’d sealed an agreement and happily given eo a new residence in the heart of the city.
I then moved on to the outer skirts of Melbourne where a Distribution Company was eagerly awaiting eo and I, well, mostly eo. As I prepared in the car I let eo have a conversation with my 3G phone (Motorola A1000) and strolled into my meeting with eo now 3G enabled. As the Distributors looked over the device the questions quickly moved onto internet connectivity, to which I replied: “you’re already online.” To their amusement they opened IE and started surfing.
When it comes to broadband enablement with a device like an UMPC I’m starting to see the phone/UMPC conversation (via Bluetooth) playing a more prominent role than ever. I can’t see why we want to carry another plug in card, therefore depreciating battery life and increasing weight. Short of embedding 3G chips in the motherboard the phone/UMPC scenario seems most effective to me. Given that 89% of us (invented stat) carry Bluetooth enabled phones I can’t see why we would like more devices and more “bills” for internet connectivity.
So eo and I wrapped up this meeting to a resounding applause and made our way to the Chadstone shopping mall. Here I was met by a Malaysian man nmaed Ivan, a humble yet very knowledgeable counterpart. His presence is solid and very determined. He looked through eo, Sahara Touchscreens and even the Superna Control Box I carried with me. He had questions, I had answers, and overall a warm connection was made between us. His project, which I suffer from NDA regarding, is a very exciting one. It may see 1,000’s of UMPCs rolled out between now and the next 18months. Obviously we treaded lightly but both foresaw possibilities beyond our wildest dreams.
Back in the car, more addresses entered into Mr. GPS and I am off to the City again; this time with Mr. Randall H. Garrett, of Apex Software in the United States. We’d been chatting online for several months and connected on several geekish levels. We decided to sit together as his commitment to Tablet PC, and my focus, meant that our two paths were destined to cross. We drank coffee at Starbucks and enjoyed the company of Anthony Caruana, Freelance Journalist, and PDA Guy too, and Apex Australia’s Darrell Cann. This meeting was full of tales and tribulations, frustrations and talk of futurism. Between us we solved the world’s most burning issues of battery power, broadband internet connectivity and even Global Warming…mmmm. Maybe!
As I left the Apex/Journo combo I remembered just how much fun it is to be a nerd. Not only am I entitled to lots of coffee but also like-minded friendships too. And when I say like-minded I mean one-eyed, maniacal like-mindedness that comes with Geek Pride (is that weird???).
As I wave good-bye, we wish each other the best, and I make my way to another location. There I catch up, for the first time (although we’ve been talking for a long time), with Adam Turner, another Freelance Journalist. I hand him the eo and wish him luck. We don’t really get to spend much time together as it turns out he’s wife is rather pregnant; interesting, there must be something in the water?
“seeya Adam, good luck!” I turn the car to the main road and make my way to a nice Pizzeria in around the corner. I walk in, power up my slate and start to surf the news of the day. The sun has gone down on the day and my nervous system is flooded with Coffee. I decide to order a black tea and a double mozzarella pepperoni pizza. As I eat and reflect I decide that the day has done far more than I expected it to. The meetings have shown UMPC to be, if anything, of interest, and Tablet PC to be in the front of people’s mind; and that can’t be a bad thing for me.
As I made the 90minute journey back to the Airport I but on the heater, turned up the radio and began to unwind. It’s now 9pm and all is done. Thank you Melbourne, you put on a great show! Can’t wait to get to bed at around midnight tonight.