The Motion C5:
The Motion C5 is a device focused mostly on the Vertical Market arena, i.e. Medical specifically. Before I get into it too much I should probably be fair and say that I am sure many of you would be happy with a system like this too. The first thing we should talk about when looking at the C5 is the ergonomic qualities. What crosses my mind when I think of this first is the massive, hand-bag-like handle that dresses the top of the device.
Unbelievably I have to admit upfront that the handle is actually extremely useful/functional/helpful. My biggest concern when I saw the initial photos uploaded was that the equilibrium created by the placement of such a specific feature would be an instant failure. You need to remember that up to this point nothing had really been as boldly designed for carrying a Tablet PC. We had seen bags, pouches, slip cases and caddies, but never an integrated handle. The integration of such a concept into a production unit lends itself so easily to criticism…don’t you think?
The way I see it is that if the handle was anything other than perfect I would find it so easy to write pages and pages of criticism. As it turns out, the handle is perfect. (Shock I know). The handle is perfect…there I said it again. It is so good because it allows for firm grip; it allows for ease of transportation, and most importantly it has addressed many OH&S concerns normally associated with the use of Tablet. Incredibly it makes the device feel lightweight and promotes confidence in use. If there was one thing that came out of several conversations with the Tablet PC MVPs this week it would be that Tablet is still the best digital replacement for Pen and Paper. And if you also consider that Pen and Paper is normally carried using a clipboard then you’ll see that the Motion C5 has actually taken us forward in development and not back at all.
Continuing on with the concept of ergonomic developments it is probably good to mention that the C5 is draped in the nicest rubberized backing I have ever felt on a Tablet chassis. It isn’t as cheap and nasty as I might have just made it sound, it is a rubber that provides cushion, and, I cannot confirm, but I am pretty sure it also provided some insulation against the heat of the CPU and HDD to the user. This coupled with the handle truly lend this slate for use as a Slate PC. While this sounds like an obvious thing to say, you would hate to know just how many slate users spend most their life looking for a keyboard. In this case I believe the slate user would spend most their time spending time as a slate user. Nice!
Another feature is the internal specifications. Some features that spring to mind are not the features often associated with Tablet PC. For instance, on the handle there is a two-part switch. One click forward activates a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Scanner, and one click back activates an Infra Red Scanner. This obviously isn’t designed to meet consumer needs but it does talk very nicely to Vertical Market needs. The other neat feature is the inclusion of a digital still camera facing away from the user. What is
One of the features that Rob Bushway pointed out, that is really significant, is the use of the flush mounted screen. The reason this is so crucial is that as a Slate Tablet User, one normally spends most of their time leaning on the glass. If there is any sign of ridges or valleys where the screen resides then the user experience becomes instantly compromised. Many of you may have not have had much Tablet experience to date but a flush mount screen certainly is something you would appreciate on slates….trust me.
So my first experience with the C5 has been a rather positive one. Whilst it is most certainly targeted at the Medical Arena I can really see some of you carrying this around as the ultimate Slate PC. I don’t know the final hardware specs, or the “pretended” battery life. All I do know is that if Motion wants me to spend a few weeks with one of these I would be happy to put it through its paces, especially when you consider that the pen and ink experience is exceptional too. Craig Pringle has added: "For the record all of my interactions with Motion Service and support home been positive and have been through the NZ distributor i-toyz, who do a great job."
Now the FlipStart. Regrettably I did not spend much time with the FlipStart but I did manage to capture lots of people’s reactions as they approached James with the device. Up front it obviously gets the WOW factor associated with anything big, dull and cumbersome, i.e. “WOW, that’s really average!” It isn’t that the function is lacking, but more so, the finish that first strikes everyone as the most unappealing feature. The machine is thick, heavy, thick and did I mention heavy!?!? The other WOW factor is that James Kendrick, who I got to know really well this week, is the FlipStart’s number one fan.
As James battles through the same issues every few minutes he also impresses me as he begins to present features and benefits not already found in other similar devices. The battery life he claims is exceptional; and the QWERTY keyboard is rather functional when used primarily with your thumbs, but “I wouldn’t like to touch-type on it” said fellow MVP Craig Pringle. The mouse pad seems to work very well and is a rather disproportionately large size, which becomes a benefit in itself. The best feature is found however when you close the lid!
When the user closes the Vulcan FlipStart what they are instantly faced with is the future…wrapped up in retro clothing. Let me explain. Many of you may have heard of Windows Vista SideShow. SideShow technology is based on rendering, or displaying if you like, local information (stored on the device) on an easily readable external format. The format is usually a screen that provides the user a window-like view into a sleeping notebook’s data. Through SideShow a user can look at photos, listen to music and read freshly received email without the need to even boot the PC. What Vulcan has done is NOT use SideShow but they have rejuvenated existing technology and provided the same window into the sleeping FlipStart. So what can you see? Well rather remarkably a user can see emails (and read them) and calendar events (and read them) and contact details (and read them). You get the point.
So what do I think of the FlipStart? The FlipStart is the best notebook like UMPC available in the 4” – 5” range. It’s QWERTY-ness and effectiveness in which it renders its mobility features is truly amazing. I can see why James is so passionate about this device as it truly reflects the power of a mobile PC device. What was missed however was the ability to let user naturally interact with either Pen or Touch. This to me is where future computing lies and any company that gives me anything less than a touch screen has missed the mark. Since being introduced to Pen and Touch my productivity has felt more intuitive, I have been able to function more easily and at the speed of thought. I no longer feel a lag in my thinking and in fact I have witnessed a spike in my own processing of information. So Vulcan would need to introduce touch, and possible a convertible feature in the screen to make me more convinced.
So sorry I could not shoot the video I promised but I am sure you realized just how busy I have been this week. I still can’t believe Bill Gates looked at me! So as I sit in the Tacoma Airport departure lounge, with my Samsung Q1 and 8 cell battery bank plugged in, I can’t help but think that UMPC is right on track. I’ll be offline for the next 24 hrs (mostly in the air). But I will be back bigger and better than ever (mostly due to all the eating I am about to do). LOL
I will miss you Northern Hemisphere…you’ve been good to me!