Saturday, July 5, 2008

UMPC buyer's guide: Sort Of

Bill O'Brien from InfoWorld provides consumers with an important tool, a buyer's guide. The Ultra Mobile PCs buyer’s guide looks at products from Amtek, ASUS, Fujitsu, Gigabyte, HP, MSI, OQO, Panasonic, Roan Digital, Samsung, TabletKiosk, Vye, and WiBrain.

Classifying UMPCs is a challenge. Interestingly the author gives the Microsoft definition and disputes it by asking about a keyboard. No self-respecting UMPC user uses a keyboard. The power is in the pen. Further, the author says in the last paragraph on the first page, “they're not PCs.” The author is confused. Yes, UMPCs are fully functional PCs; not devices. In fact, UMPC stands for Ultra Mobile PCs. The ending of the acronym gives the clue.

The problem with classifying the models in the guide is that several are not UMPCs; they are nice products but they have keyboards and do not operate with the Windows OS; some are devices and not personal computers. In fact, what the author calls notebook UMPCs are netbooks. I do agree that the MID definition from Intel suggest Linux is a key factor in comparing MID and UMPC; UMPCs are Windows-based and MIDs are Linux. Additionally, the consumer may consider a device different from a full PC.

Instead, consider this guide a nice look at UMPCs, MIDs, and  netbooks. Anyway, let's get to the meat and potatos. These are the models discussed with the specifications and links to the manufacturer's website.

  • Acer Aspire One

  • Amtek iTablet 700 and 770

  • ASUS R2H, Eee series

  • Fujitsu U810

  • Gigabyte U60, M704, 528

  • HP 2133 Mininote

  • MSI Wind

  • OQO Model 2

  • Panasonic Toughbook CF-U1

  • Roan Digital Everun

  • Samsung Q1 series

  • TabletKiosk eo

  • Vye Mini-v S18 ans S41

  • WiBrain B1E

Plenty of time went into writing this guide and I highly recommend people curious about UMPCs, MIDs, and netbooks to take a look.