June 2006

Several UMPCs to use Synaptics TouchStyk
Synaptics, a developer of interface solutions for mobile computing, communications, and entertainment devices, announced the adoption of its capacitive TouchStyk solution in a number of recently announced Ultra-Mobile portable computer (UMPC) devices. Synaptics possesses more than 50 percent market share in notebook computers. The UMPC is a fully functional computer with complete PC and internet capabilities that offer location adaptability, allowing the UMPC to interact with other digital devices in the user's lifestyle in the home, at the office, or on the road. Synaptics' TouchStyk provides consumers with simple one-handed cursor navigation on the UMPC display. [see FAQ on how technology works] -- Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006 by chb

Windows Vista enables universal pen input
Digitizer pen technology pioneer Wacom emphasizes Microsoft's upcoming Vista release introduces significant pen input features for a faster, easier and more efficient computing experience. Wacom pen tablet and pen display users will enjoy intuitive new Vista-enabled note taking resources, handwriting recognition and time-saving gesture control options. The combination of Vista's built-in support for pen input and Wacom's capabilities as a source of advanced input technology will also enable software developers and other hardware manufacturers to integrate compelling pen and touch input capabilities into future products. [ -- Posted Monday, June 26, 2006 by chb

Fujitsu Lifebook B6210 blurs line between TPC and notebook
Fujitsu announced the ultra-portable LifeBook B6210 touch screen notebook, enhanced with longer battery life and the latest Intel Core Solo ULV Processor. The 3.2 pound B6210, geared towards healthcare, field-force automation and other forms-intensive workplaces, has a 12.1-inch XGA display with a touch screen and comes with either XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 or standard XP Pro. A large 6-cell battery delivers up to eight hours of battery life. The B6210 offers great security with embedded Trusted Platform Module, Smart Card, optional biometric fingerprint sensor, Fujitsu Security Application Panel with over 800,000 possible combinations, two-level hard drive password protection, and a security lock slot. The B6210 with the Tablet PC Edition 2005 starts at $1,649.

-- Posted Thursday, June 22, 2006 by chb

Samsung adds distributors for its Q1 UMPC
Samsung announced that it has expanded retail distribution of its new Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC due to strong initial sales and growing customer excitement for the device. Launched May 1 in the US, the Samsung Q1 is now sold in all 32 Fry's Electronics stores and soon will be available at various Best Buy stores in Texas. Initially, the Q1 was sold via Best Buy's e-tail outlet, www.bestbuy.com/ultramobilepc, and at www.CDW.com. "The Q1 was in high demand from the moment it debuted on the Best Buy and CDW websites," said David A. Nichols, Director, Display Marketing, Samsung Electronics America. "That demand is what's driven us to make the Q1 available at all Fry's Electronics stores plus the Texas-based Best Buy outlets. In addition, we'll soon be announcing yet another distributor for the Q1." -- Posted Monday, June 19, 2006 by chb

New reviews posted
We posted full reviews of the Motion Computing's diminutive LS800 Tablet PC slate and Toshiba's full-size Tecra M4 Tablet PC convertible. -- Posted Friday, June 16, 2006 by chb

Skyscape launches RxPlan for mobile devices
Skyscape, a service for medical information by specialty for mobile devices, introduced the latest in formulary technology with RxPlan, a comprehensive and accurate compendium of health plan formularies. RxPlan contains formularies for over 4700 health plans, including Medicare Part D and Medicaid. It continuously updates the status of over 12,000 drugs, and enables RxPlan prescribers the ability to offer choices based on patient health plan coverage. Designed for Palm, Pocket PC, Windows Mobile PDAs and Windows PCs/TabletPCs, RxPlan searches by drug name, drug class or clinical system and allows the prescriber to browse drug lists within each formulary, giving the status of the drug coverage and automatically selecting possible alternatives for the patient -- reducing hassles and improving efficiency so the prescriber can better focus on delivering the best care. Skyscape has a registered user base of over 550,000 medical practitioners. -- Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2006 by chb

Origami/UMPC woes - oh my...
Well folks, on the one side we have Microsoft and it's apparently immovable belief that Windows XP is a one-size-fits-all solution that must be on every device, from desktop with giant display down to Ultra-Mobile PCs and even smaller machines like the OQO, devices whose display is barely larger than that of a Pocket PC. One the other side we have hardware OEMs who must shoehorn all of XP into ever tinier packages, a quest akin to squeezing all of Oprah into Halle Berry's catsuit. Apart from the fact that the XP interface was never designed for a small screen and thus works poorly, the hardware requirements are enormous. So OEMs struggle. The general reaction to UMPCs has been that they are sluggish and have awful battery life. Now Samsung wants to switch from Intel to AMD, and others use ViA. Those are just bandaids. And if sluggish UMPCs with lousy battery life weren't bad enough, their high prices keep the rest of the potential buyer's away. Not a pretty situation. -- Posted Thursday, June 8, 2006 by chb

Fujitsu T4210 TPC convertible has bi-directional hinge
Ever since the first prototype of Acer's TPC convertible, tablet convertible enthusiasts have had not only to put up with the little-satisfying pivot hinge solution, but also the fact that the thing only turned clockwise. Heck, even big stickers didn't keep many from erroneously twisting the other way, at times with sad results. So Fujitsu took action when it released the LifeBook T4210, the fifth generation of its popular TPC convertible. You can now turn the screen pivot both clockwise and counterclockwise. A small thing and not a total solution to the pivot, but appreciated nonetheless. The T4210 uses, surprise, an Intel Core Duo, has a modular media bay that can accommodate a second battery, has a wide viewing angle 12.1-inch XGA screen, and offers excellent battery life (6.5 hours with one, 11 hours with two). There are dual digital microphones, a dedicated SmartCard slot, a fingerprint swipe sensor, and the usual complement of ports and interfaces. The T4210 weighs just 4.2 pounds and starts at US$1,729. [see full release] -- Posted Wednesday, June 7, 2006 by chb