Monday, August 28, 2006

UMPCs for business or pleasure?

On this occasion it's Australia's ROAM Magazine that takes a stab at UMPC, and the merits and mistakes it holds therein. This time two experts were interviewed and quoted as stating:


Michael Sager, research manager for hardware with IDC Australia, isn't holding his breath. 'Whatever this platform is going to address, whether consumer or commercial, it's going to have a lot of clarity around that. It is going to have to be crystal clear what it actually does.'

Sager believes the Australian market will take a while to warm to the UMPC. 'These size devices don't do very well in Australia, and I don't think anyone will be expecting this to push through big numbers soon. It is going to be a much tougher sale here than in the Asia Pacific. And I will put expectations very, very low.'


Hugo Ortega, Principal of local TabletKiosk Distributor Tegatech Australia, is nonetheless a UMPC believer. His first two consignments of devices sold out quickly, raising eyebrows amongst heavy hitting customers in the retail, financial services and Government markets. 'UMPC is not going to be a success for the general public,' Ortega says. 'It has too high a price to hit the spot with mums and dads, but I think there will be huge success with enterprise customers. Larger devices are too heavy and PDA's are under-processed. These are still under processed when it comes to replacing the notebook, but they will really be aimed at mobility teams rather than replacing regular notebooks or desktops.'



Gordon said...

I can't think of a spot in my company's environment (software development) where there'd be much a niche (Engineers love HUUGGGEEE high-res screens) but heaven knows there are certainly some fields where an ultra-mobile writing surface would be absolutely ideal.

Ugg...should have seen me trying to juggle my T60p in the car last night while mapping my way to a friends' place. Talk about an accident waiting to happen. :)

Gabriel Gonzalez said...

Why not both? Business and pleasure!
I think my parents will start using more a PC at home with an UMPC simply because they wouldn't have to go upstairs !

Hugo Ortega said...

Hey Gordon,

It didn't take you long to come up with a solution for UMPC did it??? About 25 words or less - imagine if you really sat down and had a think..LOLOLOL

Hugo Ortega said...

Hola Gabriel,

I think you're right, in fact me mum is desperate for one herself. My point revolves around the commoditization of the product, and right now the amount of units mums and dads will vs. what business will buy, is significant. It's a numbers game that needs to be won before we see UMPC considered as a "real" form factor.

Gordon said...


Me? Think? Now that's just crazy talk. :)

Though I have to admit I'm keeping my eyes open for an excuse to get something this portable.

Hugo Ortega said...


Gordon said...


You're right...this 'thinking' thing can be dangerous. I was in the car this morning (a great place for a UMPC thanks to Samsung's car mounting kit) and thought "Gee, I need to start working out again. Hey! A UMPC would be great for that. Stick it on the treadmill to watch videos (possibly xferred over from Media Center) while jogging. Or perhaps inking reps/weights while working out." It'd be far better than a Tablet in an instance like that where a PDA is a bit too small and a tablet is too unweildy.

It's kinda a scary thought coming from a geek adverse to extended periods of physical activity. But a valid one. :)

Hugo Ortega said...

LOL...something like Ultra-Ultra-Mobile-Mobile-PC...LOL

The fact remains that the form-factor of UMPC is where it has hit the spot. The Tablet features appear to be fairly irrelevant. PDA too small, laptop too big, is all I hear everyday.

Here's to UUMMPC's!

Gordon said...


Ah, but the question is WHICH UMPC right now. The two major models both have their distinct advantages:

Q1: Car mount kit, choice of batteries (regular, extended), better speakers. However it's a celeron CPU. That could be solved in Oct if the Q1b comes out with a VIA of some sort.

EO: Less sensitive screen (better suited to inking), thumbstick pointer device, white (less finger prints), potentially better CPU.

However the new EO w/ Pentium M is due out soon w/ 1GB and 60GB but its black (and still no easy car mounting option). And then the Q1b is due out. Also the Asus is coming out but it has really anemic RAM and a celeron CPU.

In short. If I do get one (and it seems like the idea device right now. It won't outmode either my desktop or laptop and won't cost me an arm and a leg like a high end tablet), then which one do I get? Drat. Someone needs to put out the "perfect" device. :)

Gabriel Gonzalez said...

Asus ships it with built-in GPS IIRC which is a very nice feature but you are right about ram and cpu.
I think I will wait for ASUS increasing the "computer power" of its umpc or any other one with builtin GPS

Hugo Ortega said...

Hi Gordon & Gabriel (and all),

Indefinitely we all need to know that there is a magic threshold that will NEVER BE MET. If you think for a minute that manufacturers can’t make the device we ALL want then you probably also think that McDonald’s “health kick” is all about the health! Manufacturers aren’t it for you; they’re in it for themselves. Sad but true.

What happens, and what remains the ironic truth, is that we, as the consumer, dictate the market space. We do this in the following three ways:

1. By the fashion we follow
2. By the demands we place on our devices
3. by the price we are willing to pay


Manufacturers on the other hand look at the process this way:

1. Look at what’s fashionable
2. Manufacture to the least stringent standards in order to meet user demands
3. Then there’s price. They know that “FREE” is the only price everyone likes so they fit all of the above requirements using this as prerequisite during the design and manufacture process.

So when it comes to “the magic device” you need to know this, IT WILL NEVER COME. Because even when it looks good, functions exactly the way we need, and if practically free, you’re standards would have changed/raised and the vicious cycle begins again.

I think the only manner to buy technology today is to draw a line in the sand and judge only by your highest personal requirement. For some that may be the burning desire to own the latest toy. For others it may be an increase in productivity, and for some it may be the need to replace rather than repair. Whatever your highest most burning reason may be to delve into the market may be, just analyze products around that very need and BUY.

Hope this helps!


Gordon said...

McDonalds isn't healthy!? :)

I was irked at them when I saw they put CANDIED walnuts in their fruit salad. And the "yogurt" smelled more like pudding. Evil!

I'm waiting at this point to see if they bump (as rumored on a few sites) the CPU on the Q1 to a VIA 1.0Ghz+. That and the new TabletKiosks should be shipping soon.

I'd love to get one NOW but I know the vendors have to be holding back for Vista in addition to the new models they're about to release.

That being said, I was in a lonnng meeting yesterday and I wish I had the abillity to draw some stuff out.

Gabriel Gonzalez said...