I’m definitely a Tablet PC guy and I have to admit that I never really got into the UMPC thing… In the early days, going to a UMPC meant taking a massive cut in power. It was like going back to the original days of the Tablet PC.
Anyone who ever used that slug of a thing called the HP TC1000 would know what I’m talking about. Simple tasks like clicking on a website link to 2 or 3 seconds to process. There is nothing worse than waiting for your computer to catch up with you.
Fortunately, HP quickly switched over to Intel Centrino processors, introduced the TC1100 and we never looked back from there. Things were reasonably fast again…
Then along came the UMPC. We go back to 600 MHz processors and super slow computing. It was like a time warp. It has always disappointed me that OEMs in the Microsoft camp (probably pushed into it by Microsoft themselves) tend to release things that aren’t ready for the market, ahead of their time.
So the first generation of UMPCs came out with hardware that was way underpowered and they struggled to run windows full stop. I wasn’t impressed and the market wasn’t either.
To their credit though, Microsoft and several manufacturers have hung in there and tried a few different things with UMPCs. We’ve now gone through three or four iterations of the UMPC.
In the meantime, the Intel Atom processor – that was first introduced to the Windows world in the UMPC – spawned the netbook craze. Massive netbook sales have meant that the hardware base for UMPCs with their tiny form factors is massively improved.
Add to the that release of Windows 7 and the swelling desire for touch functionality – particularly of the multi-touch iPhone style – and you have a plethora of new UMPC devices that are somewhat flying in the face of my last post on the subject…
In my collection I now have several UMPCs including:
With the exception of the Q1 which is about to move on from the collection, they all include inbuilt 3G / Next G mobile broadband hardware perform exceptionally well. The all use the latest generation of netbook style Atom processors and they run Windows XP or Windows 7 well.
The Gigabyte is a very useful addition to the family. We were thinking about getting a standard non-touch screen netbook for the house, but the Gigabyte was a great decision. Not only is it a really good expandable netbook, it is also great as a Tablet slate for eBook, news and blog reading. It is always more comfortable to read from a slate because you can get closer to the screen. The only thing that I would like on it is a backlit keyboard for working at night…
The Viliv S5 is truly incredible. It amazing that so much can fit into such a tiny package. In fact it is a little too small at times, but coupled with my mobile bluetooth keyboard it is pretty awesome. I can blog from it using my favourite wordpress interface – Windows Live Writer. I’ve tried blogging from the iPhone, but it is far too limited and small. The Viliv S5 fills that gap nicely.
The Viliv X70 is my take away PC. It is a much nicer size to work with, but it is also logically a fair bit larger than the S5, so not as “sneakable”… 3G inbuilt again, and with my stylus pen and custom touch keyboard it is quite nice to use. I think the X70 is the ultimate eBook reader.
I’m looking forward to the next generation of UMPC hardware. The UMPC won’t replace the digitiser based Tablet PC for me, but I am a UMPC convert. They certainly make life easier for me.