Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So where does UMPC belong (podcast)

First it was my readers, then GottaBeMobile jumped onboard too; so back by popular demand it's the Hugo Ortega vs. Dr. Neil Show. Designed to be contentious and yet loveable too, the show will make you squirm and jeer cheer in astonishment as two MVP's banter their way through this podcast.

Enough BS!

Welcome to Show 23
  • Welcome back to Hugo "UberTablet" Ortega
  • 2 weeks as MVP for Hugo - does it hurt yet?
  • UMPC retail or enterprise?
  • Any topics you would like us to discuss?

This podcast was recorded on a Samsung Ultra Mobile PC with Castblaster


Chuck said...

Great discussion. I tend to agree with you, Hugo, at least until the price comes down and battery life goes up.

Maybe next time you could discuss the positioning of Windows Mobile (PocketPC) vs Mobile Windows (UMPC) - nobody at Microsoft seems to want to address the overlap.

James McCutcheon said...

Ahh maybe we should do that at the Sydney mobile user group Hugo ... I would love to see the new on the block vs the old school

Hugo Ortega said...

Hey Chuck,

I love the topic (Mobile PC vs. Ultra Mobile PC) and you've probably picked the right two to throw stones; Dr. Neil and I are known for causing a stir.

Thanks for the feedback on the cast and for taking my side - I'll make sure I let Neil know, again and again! In all honesty I think you gathered that I am "pro" both sides but I do think we need to keep them away from retail just a little longer. I guess what I’m really doing is playing the protective parent role, and avoiding letting the chick out of the nest too early.

As fellow MVP James has alluded to, maybe those of you in Australia and more specifically in Sydney can come it to SWMUG once monthly for a follow up to this mobile vs. mobile battle.

Dr. Neil said...

I love the idea of discussing Mobile PC and Windows Mobile platforms. A topic v. close to my heart.
Keep the ideas coming :)

Hugo Ortega said...

You rock Neil!

Chippy said...

Superb conversations you two.

I had a very similar conversation with a European reatiler yesterday.

Its very critical to hold back these devices from a big retail push for a number of reasons.

1) VARs need to spend time promoting these. For that they need....
2) better sales margins. Sales margins get reduced when devices hit the consumer markets.
3) We need to work out what UMPCs are good at before we go for the big conumer push. That means waiting for Vista and UMPC-focused software.

We also need to let the 3rd-party accessory market develop too. You wouldn't have seen the Zune launch without an accesory range would you!

Personally i'm leaning towards promoting them as Mobile Minipcs becuase people can relate the device and the term more readily.


Hugo Ortega said...

Hey Chippy,

So you thought you would wade in too, ah!

I like everything you stated except the margin bit. The reason I'm passionately against this is because it buys right into the reseller mentality that eats away at the backbone of all new technology, i.e. I need more margin – and yet when they get it they throw it all away to remain “competitive.” Idiots.

Why resellers that sell ipods (and make only 2% margins on a $100 item) do not complain is beyond me. The reason they do not complain, is, yes, the accessories, but more so the branding that is ipod. By selling ipod they’re saying…”yes, we’re funky too.” What we need is a clever sexy young marketing genius to take the UMPC and brand it (as Apple would) in one simple campaign.

Let that campaign involve some sex appeal, some glamour and some funk. As any apple campaign would let the same UMPC campaign consist of only two or three words and one little funky song. Instead Microsoft, as usual, overloads the users with files, facts and phenomena around the “latest and greatest goods and services.” CALM DOWN!

The reason I’m against retail is that we need to take a chill-pill and SLOW DOWN. Explain it slowly, concisely and passionately, but don’t make it the be-all end-all. Kind of like Neil and Chippy have stated – their just a mini-pc after all.

When it comes to marketing what I’m trying to do is avoid this behavior: Microsoft revamps the iPod retail packaging!

Matt Propst said...

I'd commented on Chippy's post in the same vein as this talk, and I'll have to say Hugo, i'll honestly say I think both you and Neil are correct.

It seems that yes people are familiar with the Windows OS, and can navigate with a certain degree of proficiency. However, the size seems a bit out of most people's league. And with cost being a current problem, coupled with the fact that many people are unfamiliar with the interface, they will remain hindered, and apprehensive. That is unless we take it upon ourselves (like we’ve been doing) to show them how to use the UMPC, how it can aid them and be a useful device.

Most students I’ve talked to about the devices seem very interested until the topic goes to price. However at the West Michigan .NET Users Group which I’m a member of I’ve had several in depth conversations with people considering the purchase. I’ve also got local MVP Martin Shoemaker asking me about the device. It seems that until more people are informed and know how to use the device, or rather what niche they would like to fill with the use of the device, it would just sit on store shelves as “another tech gadget”, should it be brought to the consumer market.

It seems that for now it is better in the VAR market where those who want to be on the bleeding edge can get the device and use it. Until the consumer market would be able to understand the role the UMPC could play in their grouping of gadgets, it would just sit on store shelves.

Hugo Ortega said...

Hi Matt,

I like your thinking and pretty much find myself in your parallel universe. Unfortunatley for UMPC it will sit past its expiration date if Microsoft doesn't get clever about how it promotes the device. If you look at ASUS, of all the manufacturers, they're probaly the only one that is giving the device a target audience - their marketing and preinstalled GPS capabilities are screaming "I'm a travellers/road-warriors companian." Where as Samsung and TK are screaming "I rock, I dance, I move I shake, I sit stand walk and run." WTF...just give someone one message.

I think the role we play as bloggers is absolutly crucial and vital. We need to explain, explain and over explain the simplicities of the device. This way people will "get it!" My last video was focused on the simplification of UMPC in an attempt to slow down the exposure everyone was getting.

Love your work Matt!

Gordon said...

I can certainly agree with the point on price. Talking myself into a $1000-1300 device (more like $1500 with warranty and tax) is a LOT harder than trying to justify $500-700 to myself. While UMPCs sound really neat....I can't think of a lot of uses in my life that would justify its price tag.

I'm giving it time...and drooling slowly. :)

Hugo Ortega said...

Hi Gordon,

Kind of like Pavlov's Dogs we tend to salivate at the mere thought of something like UMPC. We all however have different realities we deal with daily and regrettably money is one of those. Your pain/pleasure threshold will only tilt in favour of the UMPC once your salivation is beyond control, or your CFO (wife) lets you at the funds...till then stay on my blog! LOL.

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