Friday, July 21, 2006

Ultra Mobile PC: An Australian Story

Today, as part of my Aussie Tablet PC Guy duties, I decided to sit down with both the Samsung Q1 and the TabletKiosk EO Ultra Mobile PCs. Because there was so much ground to cover and lots of omissions due to time constraints I’ve turned the VLOG into a two-part series. The show notes below give you guide as to what’s contained and I’ll leave the rest up to your own viewing pleasure.

Now you all know that I’ve done my best when it comes to evangelizing Tablet PC (sometimes useful, other times arguable) so when it came to UMPC I’ve remained creative so as not impose on the already prolific works of MVBs such as GTM, JK, Craig Pringle, OnlyUMPC, Chippy, Linda, CTitanic, The Heiny’s and countless others.

On this occasion I’ve aimed at making the review informative and have chosen the touchscreen as the main subject matter to focus on. Every time I rip a VLOG I also gain a new found respect for VLOGgers in the Tablet space.

Australian Tablet PC Distributor Tegatech Australia is now shipping the Tablet Kiosk EO Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) and hopes to have the Samsung Q1 ready for Distribution shortly.

Sit back and enjoy this two part series named: Ultra Mobile PC: An Australian Story.

Show Notes:

Part 1 [35MB/9.25 minutes]

  • Ergonomics
  • Ports, buttons and stands
  • The XYZ Factor (chapter 1)

Part 2 [37MB/9.56 minutes]

  • Touchscreen weight (pressure sensitivity) and DialKeys
  • The XYZ Factor (chapter 2)
  • The speakers
  • The Pen – ouch!
  • Interpolation of pixels
  • The verdict

*Update 22nd of July 2006 1320*

I have updated the video with subtitles correcting myself on the touchscreen weight (pressure sensitivity). Thanks for your understanding and support. :-)

*Update 22nd July 2006 0830*

In all my excitement (late night and longer video than usual) I misrepresented one key specification...the weight (pressure sensitivity) of the touchscreens. While my point still remains, that is the Samsung needs far less pressure on it to obtain an XY coordinate than the EO, I should clarify that the Samsung needs 70grams (not 700g as stated) of pressure while the EO needs 120g (obviously more).

thanks Fernando!


Long Zheng said...

Not only are these two videos great reviews of the EO & Q1 UMPCs, they're a great overview of the basic underlying features and capabilities of UMPCs too!

Anonymous said...

Hello Hugo: great reviews, very insightful !!!

I do have a technical question and you may help clarify: you indicate that the Samsung has a 700 gram digitizer, so that the screen requires a 700 gram push to get a (x,y) coordinate. I interpret this as the Samsung having a less sensitive screen (requires a bigger push to get a reaction), but it seems it is the other way around, i.e., actually the Samsung has a far more sensitive screen (which is why the pinky effect is magnified when you write).

Can you "unscramble" my understanding?



dc said...

Q1 does not have firewire, it's a power port. great videos.

Rashman said...

Excellent review!
Is there no way of using the eo on an external monitor?

Anonymous said...

Hi Hugo,

I think Fernando has made a good point - If the Samsung had a 700g screen you would need to punch the screen to register a tap.

I think the Samsung actually has an 80g digitiser. For us Australian readers who want to try out such a digitiser I think the Fujitsu P1510 also has an 80gram touchscreen.

Great vid. Would love to see some high res still of the interpolated high resolutions on the UMPCs. No one seems to want to post one.



Hugo Ortega said...

Cheers Long...we're getting it done for the Aussies!!!

Hi Fernando,

To my horror you're actually right. I've updated the blog post and will see if I post some subtitles on the video maybe. Too much see I'm not much for rehersals, these are all done in one take with edit points thrown in to shorten the vids. I'm so glad you enjoyed it mate! Come again.

Thanks DC,

Same replay applies to your comment as to Fernando's.

Hi Rashman,

The EO will be releasing a Docking Station very soon and I believe that will have Ethernet, VGA, USB and a SD Card Reader. Thanks for the visit mate!

Hi Simon,

Thanks for the vid and the heads-up on the P1510. I have used the device and it does produce the same results as the Q1. I know that the lighter screens are a better "touch" experience but they sure do not give justice to the inking abilities of the Tablet PC OS.

I'll get you some interpolated pictures real soon. Thanks for the visit. Have agood one!

Linda A. Epstein said...

Great job hugo!

Hugo Ortega said...

Cheers Linda,

Thank you for your support, I'm a fan of waht you do!

Anonymous said...

Hugo, Great video, impressed with the points that you made that frankly haven't been made elsewhere - appreciated.

The Aussie version of the Sony UX50 has just launched....saw one in a store (in Melbourne) today - interested in your thoughts on that maching in relation to the other. Cheers. Jon

Hugo Ortega said...

Hi Mate,

Thanks for your comments...much appreciated and helps fuel my fire.

In regards to the USony UX50 I have not had it in my hands and therefore cannot give you an accurate account. What I can say is that from Mr. Kendrick's awesome video I could gather two things I don't like, the bulkiness (thickness) and the fact that it's actally not a Tablet OS driven device. While the bulkiness may be a misjudgement as I have not had it in my hands I believe my struggle with the lack of Tablet OS is a point of contention for me that won't go away. Obvioulsy I'm enamored with the OS but rightly so given its functionality.

As a positive towards the Sony you can never disregard their aesthetics and all the hot accessories and extras that become available.

Stay cool Jon, and thanks for popping by.

Gabriel Gonzalez said...

Congratz for your review! Really helpful!

Have you tried the ASUS's origami?

Left said...

Hi Hugo,

Liked the videos, very informative.

Recently been looking at the umpc market. I currently live in the UK and later this year i am going travelling with my girlfriend to asia, africa, new zealand and your homeland.

She has got a digital camera and we're looking at taking away a laptop to process images on.

Don't know how much you know about digital photography but the pics from her camera come in RAW format which is just the raw data from the cameras sensor, this needs to be processed into jpeg or tiff format. Sorry if i just insulted your knowledge!

Obviously a umpc would be ideal to stick in our backpack to carry around with us but would this be feasible or does it lack the processing power to cope with this?

Was hoping a man of your experience would know a bit more than me!

Cheers, keep up the good work.

Hugo Ortega said...

Hi Gabriel,

Thanks for popping by and thank you for your kind thoughts.

In regards to the ASUS I have not tried it but I know a few people that have. One thing that seems to favour that device is its thickness, i.e. it appears to be thinner than the other UMPCs in the market. When it comes to ASUS products I must admit that I am a big fan. I supply a lot of their gear and own plenty too. Knowing that they manufacture PCB and parts then you can guess that the R&D would be pretty good on the R2H.

I think the fact that the ASUS UMPC has not hit the market is probably a good indication of ASUS' dedication to 'good' product development. The other thing I know I will like about the ASUS (and you can guess this by my reviews) will be the joystick. From what I can see the R2H will ship with the same styled joystick as the EO (to amnipulate the mouse) and will therefore become a good productivity tool.

Have a good one and thanks again for the visit!!!

Hi Left (cool name),

I'm really not offended with your style of questioning, if anything I admire your willingness to seek answers. I do know the RAW format albeit not tremendously well. I have a cousin who is a Digital Photographer and we've played around with the RAW format on a couple of occassions.

When it comes to UMPC you need to know that the processor is small in comparison to a regular notebook or desktop. Having said that, for your application your alternative is a portable HDD with inbuilt card reader. When you look at 'Digital Photography tools,' such as these HDDs, they don't really have a processor at all. The RAW format is a huge file and obviously needs all the muscle it can get so as long as you keep you expectations in check, and therefore view the RAW format when you need to, but don't expect to be using photoshop on the fly while editing these RAW files then you'll probably do OK.

I'd recommend a UMPC for this (with a Gig of RAM) as you'll have the added benefit of the full XP OS and other functions too. A recent case study to support this is that Australian Tablet Distributor Tegatech Australia has teamed up with Camera Action in Melbourne Australia to sell UMPCs as their top of the range "Photographer's Tool;" so I can only imagine that you're on the right path.

In closing, if you've worked with the RAW format on a Celeron Processor notebook and you're happy with the results then you really won't go past one of these for your travels...

Let me know if you're in Sydney and we'll do coffee!

Pc_Madness said...

Great review! Any ideas on places that are actually going to be selling UMPC's downunder? :\

The EO looks better for writing with the stylus.. would you say it'd be practical for taking down lecture notes on? (I'm at uni and ever so bored of writing stuff on paper)

Is there any UMPC in particular that you suggest I keep my eye out for? I just need something that I can take notes, play music and perhaps video (GPS and TV Tuner would be cool, but I'm sure they'd loose their excitement factor eventually, and not worth the extra cost :p)

Hugo Ortega said...

Hey pc_madness,

You've gotta be joking...these things won't lose their coolness for a long time yet. Tablet PC, which in some people's mind's eye is "old", is still seen as cool by many onlookers almost everywhere I go. If you consider that UMPC has only just been released then you've got at least 5yrs of happiness to come. Now I don't know about you but 5 yrs is long enough for any gadget, by then there will be something else anyway.

If you're serious about turning into a Digital Notetaker then you have probably considered a Tablet PC; given that most Tablets in Australia are around the $4,000 mark then you can't go past UMPC for less than half that.

For TV tuner just get the USB digital card (MSI make a great one, the MegaSky 580) and that should do the trick. If you're going to take notes then as per the videos make sure you consider the EO. Otherwise keep your eye out for the Founder UMPC as it has a similar weighted touchscreen. Go to Tegatech Australia site to order an EO.

Dave - Lifekludger said...

Hugo. Great video overviews!

Do you know what kind of gramms of force a PDA screen would be?


Hugo Ortega said...

Hey Dave...of course.

Touch sensitivity is right down your alley isn't it (retorical Q)? It's a great question and I don't have the answer. I've shot off an email to a friend of mine (The PDA Guy) so hopefully he can come up with he goods. Check back here for the answer.

For those of you that don't know Dave go and visit LifeKludger or Dave's Podcast - I subscribe to both.

Pc_Madness said...

Hey Hugo :)

Ahh, so the site isn't just for Resellers? It mentions a minimum of 5 per order so I was alittle lost. :)

Well, by 'coolness', I meant more the novelty of being able to watch tv in a small device like that... until you realise the fact that theres nothing good on TV to watch anyway :p.

Cheers for the other suggestion, will take a look. :)

Thanks Hugo!

Hugo Ortega said...

Hi Left

If you are looking for a UMPC in the UK check out TabletKiosks UK agent PocketPC Solutions at

Hugo Ortega said...

Hey PC_madness,

TV on these devices rocks! I've done it myself and must admit that it's really enjoyable.

The Tegatech Australia is set up for Distribution therefore to obtain reseller pricing the resellers need to purchase in lots of 5. When it comes to a one-off order then they are happy to accept those orders also but there is no leniency in price.

Keep up the passion!!!

Left said...

Hey Hugo,

Thanks for the replies, gives me some food for thought.

Currently got a notebook and processing the RAW images on it is suitable. Anyway won't be too bad if it takes a long time - will give us something to do on our long bus/train and plane rides!

I'll read the case study and have a look at the link you sent for UK umpc's.

Very much appreciated! Keep up the good work.

p.s. heading to sydney 22nd December!

Hugo Ortega said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hugo Ortega said...

Sorry Neil, I guess I always assume you're the Keynote. In my eye's your always the main man!!!

Hey Left,

If slow is OK, albeit not painfully slow, then UMPC for RAW data will be fun/fine.

Have fun on your trip, take heaps of pictures, take care and maybe we'll catch up when your in town in January some time.


thoughtfix said...

If you see my blog at, you can see what I have been doing with my Nokia 770. I plan to do the same with a new blog for the eo that just shipped today. Wish me luck!

Hugo Ortega said...

Hey ThoughtFix!

You're about as maniacal as I am...good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your enormously helpful comparison!

Hugo Ortega said...

My pleasure Sir.

Libography said...

Thank you so much for your very helpful videos! I am looking into buying a tablet-type computer, primarily so I can take notes by hand, and I was assuming less required pressure on the touch screen was better, until I saw your demonstration of the awful, messy results!! thank you so much!

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