Remember UMPCs? Long before iPads and Android tablets were all the rage, Ultra Mobile PCs with Windows were supposed to be the next big thing. While these tiny computers did manage to collect a small but devoted following, they were typically underpowered, had awful battery life, and tended to carry high price tags.
These days most PC makers are putting their bets in Android tablets and upcoming Windows 8 tablets. But a few manufacturers are still cranking out devices that are best described as UMPCs.
The Tainell U-Touch 500 is one of them. It’s a full-fledged Windows 7 PC that you can slide into your (reasonably large) pocket.
Dynamism has a pre-order page for the U-Touch 500, but there’s no pricing information yet. Instead you can sign up to receive updates via email.
Update: You can pick up a U-Touch 500 from Dynamism for $699.
The U-Touch 500 has a 5 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display, a low power 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z530 Paulsbo processor, 2GB of RAM and a 64GB solid state disk. The little computer measures just 6.1″ x 3.5″ x 1″ and weighs less than 13 ounces.
It features 802.11b/g WiFi and Bluetooth 2.0 as well as WCDMA connectivity for mobile broadband. There’s a 1.3MP front-facing camera, a USB port, mini USB port, and headphone and mic jacks.
There’s some sort of mouse button on the left side of the screen and a few buttons on the right side for functions such as right-clicking or launching the start menu.
While I haven’t seen a battery life estimate yet, the 4 cell 2400mAh battery sounds kind of small. I’m not sure I’d expect more than a few hours of run time. But that’s the price you pay for packing this much computer into this small a package.
This isn’t the first time Tainell has released a mini-PC in this form factor. The Chinese device maker introduced the T500 a few years ago — but that model had a 1.1 GHz Intel Atom Z510 processor and Windows XP operating system.
I’m hoping next year’s Atom redesign will bring back UMPCs and a significant boost in performance.
Possibly, Intel will definitely be pushing them into more mobile devices and need to raise performance and efficiency to compete with ARM.
Right now Intel basically said that starting with the 22nm update they’ll be updating at a rate faster than Moore’s Law. So if they don’t do it next year then expect something in 2014 when they update again to 14nm.
While we should be seeing more tablets being pushed with a keyboard dock like the Asus Transformer, and this will go all the way up to Ultrabooks.
Also some ARM companies are experimenting with 7″ and 8.9″ Smartbooks/Convertible tablets that with the Windows RT and next gen ARM chips may be close enough for now to be considered a valid option.
I’m still hoping for a slider UMPC but not with the currently available Atom performance.
… Or we could call that a tablet…
5″ basically straddles the line between a tablet and something usually smaller like a Smart Phone or PDA.
While UMPC’s ranged from 5″-7″ and came in various form factors, including very tablet like designs.
So 5″ to 7″ is basically the gray area where devices may fall into multiple descriptive categories. Especially, when it has extra things you usually wouldn’t find on a tablet like alternate input and control options.
Besides the “PC” part is what still separates ARM based tablets from x86 based tablets. Since you typically won’t get all the ports and OS options that a PC tablet offers on a ARM based tablet.
Like when was the last time you saw a ARM tablet with a Ethernet port? Among other differences… A PC Tablet still tries to be a PC, just usually sans keyboard and mouse, while a ARM tablet doesn’t mind being just a tablet and can do without anything not needed for tablet use.
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