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Ultra-Mobile Pricey Computer

Thursday, April 6, 2006

When news of Project Origami began to spread like avian bird flu, I thought the decision to buy an ultra-mobile PC would be a no-brainer. A small device that can run Word, Outlook, OneNote, and GPS software on a reasonably sized display sounds infinitely useful - all I would need is a fashionable man purse to carry my computer around, right casey?

Now I’ve seen some specs and reviews come on-line.

Dr. Neil is playing with a pre-production UMPC and reports the battery life as ‘just over two hours’. I was hoping for 4.

Meanwhile, the Samsung Q1 is available for preorder in the UK at a price of £800 (almost $1400!). The TabletKiosk eo is also available for pre-order at a price of $900. The troubling fact is $900 only buys 256MB of RAM and a 30GB drive, which is what I expected for $600 entry-level units.

I have not spotted any prices for the unit I’m most interested in, the Asus R2H. The Asus model is rumored to ship with a GPS receiver, fingerprint scanner, and camera. Given the early pricing on other models, I won’t be surprised to see the Asus come in over $1600. At that price point one has to think about the tradeoffs between a UMPC versus a slate or convertible tablet.

Jumping on the first generation UMPCs isn’t the easy decision I first thought. Still, the voice on my shoulder tells me the UMPC could be a lot of fun to develop for…