The definitive write up of the UMPC

As Bynk quite rightly says, Sometimes, David Pogue is indeed “The Man”:

“Build it, and they will come” only works as a tagline in a Kevin Costner movie. It is not a viable product strategy. Nor, as it turns out is “Bill likes it”.

I really, really, really wanted to like the UMPC. What I’ve always wanted is a Newton 2000-sized device that can run real, proper software, so you can imagine how the UMPC appealed. And what do we get instead? I not particularly good screen on a machine that’s too slow to run not only next-year’s operating system, but today’s. Where Tablet PC is smart, UMPC is dumb.

  • Steve Paine

    Hi Ian.

    Personally, i dont believe that an Ultra-Mobile PC should be running heavyweight desktop software. 1Ghz of CPU is enough for most tasks and anything more is an impossible physical problem right now. I think MS screwed up by putting XP on this device when it needs a dedicated s/w stack. A redeveloped CE/WM5 or Symbian or embedded linux would have been much more appropriate. Then we wouldn’t have seen the oversize cases, the heavyweight hardware requirements and the high cost.



  • Ian Betteridge

    Hi Steve,

    You’re kind of highlighting the problem with UMPC, which is that it’s neither fish nor fowl. It’s not powerful enough to run anything but very simple software, but it’s too expensive and heavy because it runs XP. It’s too expensive (at $1000) to be a “second machine” – a kind of ultra-smart notepad – but it’s not powerful enough to be a primary portable.

  • Alan

    I think all of these current UMPC’s are missing what we consumers want; we want a device that is designed around the parameters of a jacket pocket so build them around 3.4-4.5 ” wide and 6.5 to 8.5 inches long and about an inch or less thick and enable an OS that is compatible with the desktops OS period. These current devices are too large to be portable. PDA’s are now too small and nobody wants a thumb keyboard. If they would just update the HPC size devices with XP that would be great!