Monday, April 03, 2006

Playing with a UMPC

This weekend I have been playing with a UMPC ;)
It is a pre-production unit that was lent to me for the weekend. It takes a bit of getting accustomed to a touch screen. I am used to the screen only reacting to my stylus. After an hour with the UMPC I went back to my Sahara slate and found myself trying to use my finger to interact with the machine. Touch is a very intuitive way to interact with a user interface.
I feel there a number of exciting opportunities for the UMPC. I would like one as a coffee table device at home. I can see it would be useful as quick note taking device and have been using it for IM. If the battery lasted a bit longer (getting just over 2 hours on this one) I would like it as a portable media player. The sync story needs to be better, if all my email and contacts could easily (without me having to do anything) sync between my desktop and my UMPC then I would get one as a diary / organiser.

I would recommend getting one with 512MB of RAM, or more. I see some of the offerings out there are shipping entry level units with 256MB and 30GB hard drives. WTF!
I can’t see the point, the device will be unusable for much more than web browsing. I expect many sold with this configuration will lead to disappointment.
The minimum spec should be 512MB RAM and 40GB hard drive. My iPOD has a 60GB drive and is nearly full, and that is just music, podcasts and photos.
I will probably get one this year to play with. I would like to cut some code for the device. I have a couple of ideas rattling around in my head.


Hugo Gaston Ortega said...

It was only time before the Dr. would get one!!! So Neil, what colour is that thing? And who makes it?

NDA is all over isn't it? I'm jealous, well done!

Anonymous said...

Just two hours battery life? That makes me cringe :( I'm hoping the DualCor is a better bet, but they seem to be delayed with their shipping. Are the batteries in the unit replaceable? Any sign whether they might sell an extra beefed-up battery?

Did you get a chance to play with the Touch Pack? How does the Dial Keyboard work?

ctitanic said...

Actually there are many solutions currently in the market and some of them for free that will help you to sync these UMPCs with your main PC without having you to do anything but having both PC and UMPC on at the moment when you switch from using one of them to use the other one. That's all it's needed. If you are one of those that leave the PC all time ON then you will not have any problem at all.

I have been talking about it at my blog where I have mentioned some of the freewares that can be used. I'll write later on today or tomorrow a 3rd comment of that serie of comments about other programs that can be used to keep all your data synced.

Unknown said...

How on earth did you manage to swing that? Lucky you.

"The minimum spec should be 512MB RAM ..."

This assumes that your UMPC is running XP. Dont you think XP and Touch pack is overkill for the coffee table scenario? 128MB RAM and 650Mhz processor should be enough for all coffee table applications unless you want gaming?

Vote Carrypad for the Coffee table !