UMPC @ CeBIT Australia

June 23, 2006 | In Microsoft, Tech

The device I loved the most at CeBIT was the Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) which, though not well publicised, proved to be a product that seemed to generate alot of interest. For the first generation of UMPCs it seemed to be quite a decent little unit, although I think there needs to be some improvement before I’d ever consider buying one.
The model on display sported a 1Ghz processor from VIA, 512 MB RAM and a 40Gb Hard drive. For a system of this size, I felt that those were some specs that I thought I’d need to go past twice for it to really sink in. The 512MB RAM really helps make the system that little more responsive, and makes it seem a little snappier than lower end laptops from Dell and other manufacturers that only come with 256MB RAM as standard. It was obvious, how ever, that this machine was running on a processor that was alot slower than the reasonably fast machines I work on from day to day, and the performance of the device did suffer. It took quite a while for Windows to fully boot up after it crashed, but the device was running extremely warm and had probably got alot of use over the past 2 days on the show floor.
eo UMPC v7110
The eo v7110 on display had some great usability functions, such as a couple of buttons to directly change system settings such as display resoloution (natively at 800×600 but a maxium of 1024×768 is supported) and another button to go directly to the WinXP Tablet Edition Control Panel (above), which saves alot of messing around trying to navigate through the Start menu.
Another feature that I found impressive, and was much publicised in the tech media, was the thumb pads that can be seen in the picture below. These keyboard like buttons allow you to type with your thumbs, although, if you have large thumbs like me, it would probably be easier for you to use the stylus and write. With a little bit of training it would be very likely that one could become accustomed to the buttons and use them with reasonable efficency.
eo UMPC v7110
The eo UMPC v7110 is avaliable in Australia through TegaTech and is avaliable in black and white in two different component specifications. Apart from not having any money to buy this gadget, I think I’ll wait a while before I even consider looking at buying a UMPC. I can see they have a very good practical application, but for their reasonably high price range and low performance compared to portable laptops in the same price range, I don’t think it would be feasible to buy one at this stage.


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