January 2007

Intel's UMD platform to replace VIA?
An article in Digitimes speculates about Intel's plans to promote its ultra-mobile device platform, UMD, and how this could spell steep competition for VIA which has been successful with its low cost/low power C7-M UMPC platform. The article suggests UMPCs being "one of the hottest topics in the market" but also points out that high prices have seriously hampered acceptance of the UMPC platform. Our take: As long as pen/touch products command a price premium, and most do, they will continue to be niche products. -- Posted Monday, January 22, 2007 by chb

Arima to begin shipping 2nd gen UMPC
According to Digitimes, Arima Computer will begin volume shipments of a second-generation UMPC to Medion in the first quarter of this year, Arima president Kent Kan said at the 2007 CES. The company's UMPC was shown by Microsoft's chairman Bill Gates during his speech. Arima's UMPC runs a VIA C7-M and is Vista-ready. Price is expected to be around US$800, but may go down to or even below US$700 by the end of 2007. -- Posted Friday, January 12, 2007 by chb

First ever Mac Tablet solution
Other World Computing and Axiotron unveiled the ModBook, the first ever Mac OS X tablet computer solution. The Axiotron ModBook is an after-market hardware modification solution of the Apple MacBook, adding WACOM pen input, a new 13.3" wide screen LCD and an optional GPS in a satin-finish, chrome-plated magnesium top shell, while keeping all the powerful features of the MacBook base system and that includes Inkwell handwriting and gesture recognition which is built into OS X and works in all applications. The ModBook can be preordered in three versions, ranging from US$2,199 to US$2,699, or roughly double that of the corresponding MacBooks, though the prices are not directly comparable due to different equipment levels. [see ModBook lineup] -- Posted Thursday, January 11, 2007 by chb

InPlay offers digital pen technology for UMPCs
InPlay Technologies announced that its digital pen technology now offers OEMs pen-input capability for ultra-mobile PCs. The InPlay MagicPoint for UMPCs consists of a digitizer behind a 7-inch LCD and an active RF digital writing pen. The system is customizable from a low-cost corded pen with basic handwriting input capability to a feature-rich cordless digital pen. The active RF pen adds greater accuracy and enhanced functionality such as hover, tilt and pressure sensitivity versus a passive stylus. "InPlay's MagicPoint technology can also be leveraged beyond the tablet PC, our primary market today. Our goal is to enable active RF pen-input as a standard user interface across all mobile PC devices," said Bob Brilon, CEO, InPlay Technologies. InPlay's MagicPoint technology is the only pen input solution with digital stream communication available today. -- Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2007 by chb

Seamless Internet S-XGen device
Seamless Internet, Inc. WiFi operater showed the S-XGen a 6.5 x 4.1 x 1.25-inch device the company calls an Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC) with integrated Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth communications. CBL Consulting of Brooklyn, NY has supposedly already ordered 500 of the devices that sport an unusual, yet not unprecendented folding keyboard. It's powered by a 520MHz version of the PXA270 processor, has 256MB of RAM and a 20GB drive. The 4-inch display has an unusual 470 x 280 pixel resolution and the US$1,400 unit runs Windows CE 5.0 with the Office Mobile Suite. We wouldn't call this a UMPC, but it's certainly an interesting device. [ASee a video of the device] -- Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2007 by chb

Edgy new Toshiba R400 Tablet PC
Toshiba maintained its position as perhaps the premier provider of Tablet PC convertibles with the introduction of the Portege R400, a somewhat edgy design clearly meant to ring in the Vista era. The machine runs a 1.2 GHz Intel Core Duo U2500, uses the currently popular 1280 x 800 "wide" format in a wide-viewing-angle 12.1-inch LCD, has 2-4GB of PC4200 RAM, an 80GB hard disk, a DVD writer, integrated EV-DO/Bluetooth/802.11a/b/g, measures 12 x 9.5 x 1.2 inches and weighs just under four pounds. The black and white color schem departs from recent Toshiba designs, as does a secondary display for the display of mail and calendar data along the front of the device. There is also a wireless replicator and Toshiba claims the R400 is the first notebook compatible with Microsoft Active Notification that synchronizes email with the calendar on its own. -- Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2007 by chb

HP introduces tx1000 Vista-optimized Tablet PC
At CES, HP announced the Pavilion tx1000 entertainment notebook PC, the first consumer Tablet PC optimized for Microsoft Windows Vista. The tx1000 features a swivel digitizer display, built-in remote control, HP QuickPlay instant movie viewing, and, um... karaoke. The tx1000 runs on an 1.8 GHz AMD Turion X2 dual core mobile processor, has up to 2GB DDR2 RAM, measures 8.8 x 12.1 x 1.25 inches and weighs 4.25 pounds. There is a 160GB 5400rpm hard disk, 802.11b/g WiFi, an 8X double-layer DVD burner, and prices start at a low US$1,099. -- Posted Monday, January 8, 2007 by chb

Gates shows OQO 02 in his keynote
Bill Gates showcased OQOs next gen ultra-mobile PC, the model 02, in his keynote address at CES. Weighing a pound and small enough to fit in a pocket, the model 02 is the worlds smallest Windows Vista capable computer. The model 02 is up to four times faster and has a display more than six times brighter than its predecessor, the model 01+. Redesigned from the ground up, the model 02 features a new ergonomic backlit keyboard and capacitive TouchScrollers for easy input and navigation. The model 02 has EV-DO Wireless WAN, WiFi, and Bluetooth and starts at $1,499. The model 02 has a 1.5GHz CPU, 60GB hard disk, 1GB of RAM. [see the OQO model 02] -- Posted Monday, January 8, 2007 by chb