May 2006

Ultra Mobile PC Update
Pen Computing Technology Editor Geoff Walker offers a comprehensive update on Microsoft's "Origami" Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC), including analyst reactions, shipping products, new and concept devices announced, future products, software released and planned, vertical market potential, touch-screen issues, and outlook. View our Ultra Mobile PC Update. -- Posted Thursday, May 25, 2006 by chb

Microsoft plans "Vistagami" mini Tablet PCs
At WinHEC, Microsoft expressed its disappointment at the high pricepoint of most current and planned "Origami" Ultra Mobile PCs. The plan was for US$500 devices, but some of the first, like the Samsung Q1, start at well over a grand. The use of less expensive electronics (like Via processors, etc.) helps some vendors, like Tablet Kiosk, offer lower prices, and some analysts project sales of up to 8 million a year by 2011. With its higher hardware requirements, it's hard to see how Vista-based UMPCs could costs less, so we'll have to wait and see how much competition and component costs will drive prices down. -- Posted Thursday, May 25, 2006 by chb

Will flash replace conventional hard drives in TPCs?
Hard drives still crash and they are still among the most vulnerable parts of a notebook (or any computer). As a result, Samsung is now releasing mobile computers with 32GB embedded NAND Flash "solid state disks" (SSDs). The experiment starts with the Q1 Ultra Mobile PC and the Q30 ultra-light notebook. The SSD-based devices resolve many of the challenges of mobile computers. Data in flash memory is more secure against external shocks as the SSD can withstand about twice the impact of a regular hard disk drive. SSD reads 300 percent faster (53MB/s) and writes 150 percent quicker (28MB/s) than normal hard drives. As a result, Windows XP boots up 25-50% faster. In addition, while the typical 1.8-inch hard disk weighs over two ounces, the SSD, depending on the package type, weighs half that. And there is no hard drive noise and power consumption is lower. The glitch, for now, is price. Once that comes down, we'd sure like to see SSDs in Tablet PCs. [see Samsung release] -- Posted Thursday, May 25, 2006 by chb

Handango to offer Tablet PC apps through Windows Marketplace
Handango, the leading provider of mobile content, announced it will provide Windows Mobile and Tablet PC content on Windows Marketplace, a shopping portal for customers to find and buy software and hardware for the Windows operating system. The mobile catalog will include games, entertainment, productivity content and more from Handango's catalog of more than 190,000 titles and will offer commerce and electronic software download delivery through Handango's robust content provisioning system, Handango AMPP. -- Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006 by chb

Air Force Academy awards Gateway TPC contract to GTSI
GTSI Corp., an information technology solutions provider to the government, announced that it has been awarded the U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2010 Cadet Purchase Buy. GTSI, along with Gateway, Inc., will be providing the cadets with a Gateway M280G Tablet PC. The Tablet PC and accessories will be specially packaged and priced for the students. "We're excited to support the United States Air Force Academy with the provision of one of our most feature-rich and performance-oriented notebook PCs for educational institutions," said Vin Riera, Gateway vice president of government sales. "Combining the benefits of a standard notebook with the advantages of pen computing, the Gateway M280 is ideal for the academic environment, where it is tangibly enhancing teaching techniques and increasing student engagement and learning. The flexible option of being able to handwrite text and draw diagrams saves time, paper and costs for students who want to use it for note-taking. It is also ideal for educators who can comment directly on student's work without having to print a page." -- Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006 by chb

ProMedica adopts mobile PatientKeeper applications
ProMedica Health System, the largest health care provider in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, today announced that it has adopted PatientKeeper as its physician information system. Physicians use the PatientKeeper Mobile Clinical Results application to access their patients' medical records and the PatientKeeper Charge Capture application to accurately record the services they provide. PatientKeeper can support any tablet or PC running a Web browser as well as Palm OS and Windows Mobile devices. -- Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2006 by chb

Motion launches touch screen slate
Motion Computing launched the LE1600TS, a light, slim slate PC with a touch screen. The LE1600TS is ideal for industries including hospitality, gaming and retail that do repetitive data entry with touch input software. The LE1600TS leverages the innovative design and ergonomics of Motionís slim LE1600 slate tablet PC, replacing the digitized display with a resistive touch screen. The touch screen, a durable, five-wire grid membrane with a coating of transparent metal oxide, enables direct and accurate input with a finger or stylus. The Motion LE1600TS uses Intel Centrino mobile technology, including a 1.5GHz Low Voltage Pentium M processor, the 915GMS Express Chipset, and the PRO/Wireless 2200 BG Network Connection. It can also be configured with a 1GHz Celeron M Processor ULV 373. The LE1600TS uses the XP Tablet PC Edition 2005. There's 802.11a/b/g WiFi, Bluetooth, IrDA, compatibility with all Motion LE and L-Series peripherals. Motion designed the LE1600TS for vertical industries that need to run touch applications on a thin-and-light computer with a 12-inch screen, and are looking for carry-anywhere alternatives to existing touch-enabled computers built into kiosks or desktops. Professionals in hospitality, gaming and retail use touch screen applications to enhance customer service at the point-of-sale, improve accuracy in order-taking, and instantly access the company database over wireless connections. [see Motion's Touch Screen products] -- Posted Monday, May 8, 2006 by chb

Samsung Q1 UMPC available May 7
Samsung announced the official U.S. launch of its Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC), the Q1. The Q1 will retail for US$1,099 in the U.S. and there will be various options, including a USB keyboard, organizer, extended battery and an external optical drive. Samsung said the Q1 will be available at Best Buy's e-tail outlet, www.bestbuy.com/ultramobilepc, beginning May 7, and in select Best Buy stores later this summer as part of a collaboration between the two companies. The Q1 is also expected to generate synergy for Samsung as it begins bundling the UMPC with its line of printers, monitors and other IT products in the American market, and examines ways to seek diverse solutions through its more than 15,000 IT resellers. As for position, "The Q1 is a good companion PC for the mobile professional that is looking for the freedom and flexibility of a small mobile device without having to sacrifice functionality," said HS Kim, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics Computer System Division. "This product marks the beginning of a revolution for PCs and PC use."

-- Posted Monday, May 1, 2006 by chb

TabletKiosk UMPC glitch costs "first-to-market"
news.com reports that a glitch in the TabletKiosk EO "Origami" UMPC means shipping will be delayed until June. The bragging rights for the first UMPS released will therefore go to Samsung which is planning a US launch of its UMPC this week. Assorted experts still squabble over the market size for UMPCs. Consensus seems to be that it will be small initially, but at least according to an In-Stat report, the UMPC market could grow to 7.8 million units by 2011. Nice to have that sort of crystal ball. -- Posted Monday, May 1, 2006 by chb