please look at my definition of a UMPC.
A highly portable computing device with 5-10" screen, wired and wireless connectivity that is able to load and run common internet, office, media and pim applications operated through a graphical user interface.
UMPC is a joint development exercise by Microsoft and Intel
. It's their view on mobile computing. I believe that they initiated this a year and a half ago when they were seing Nokia and its N770 and small companies like Archos with the PMA430, release relatively cheap pocket computers. Because that's what those really are and the top managment at Microsoft and Intel knows the threat that this means to their Windows and x86 products. Basically the whole computing industry could be changed when such ARM+DSP+Linux based computers start to be mass manufactured and sold for much cheaper.
Intel has always been promoting using x86 chips in desktop and personal computers, and today that is of course the current standard for desktops and laptops. The reason for that, is because applications are very diverse and are not optimized to any one platform and to any one hardware configuration. But this impossibillity to optimize using x86 means that 99% of computing today is wasted, we only need to use 1% of our computing processing to do what we need to do. For example right now, while you are reading my forum post, your Windows based x86 desktop computer's processor is consuming maybe as much as 200 watts, or if you are using a Windows-based x86 Laptop you might be using around 50 Watts of energy right now. Your x86 based CPU is turned on and your fan is spinning. Your x86 based CPU might actually be 80 degrees celsius hot right now, you could fry an egg on it, but you aren't doing anything. And when you hit the answer button, you will be entering text that is 1/1000th the size of your screen, still your x86 computer will be using electricity nearly just as much as if you were watching a HD video. This is uterly total waste of energy, and Al Gore doesn't approve of that.
Basically x86 is a standard that makes every hardware configuration compatible with each other in time. But will those different configurations continue to be the way to do things? In the near future, I believe this will change. Especially when $200 Laptop computers like the OLPC
and $300 Desktop computers like the Zonbu
will become very much so Mass Market in the very near future. And soon after that, those cheap and optimized low power x86 based Linux systems will be replaced by even cheaper ARM and DSP based systems such as the ones that can be mass manufactured any day in Taiwan. This year or the next, a mass market Desktop ARM computer will consume 50 times less energy and cost 100 dollars
, Laptops will consume 50 times less energy and cost less than 100 dollars, and pocket computers also will cost less than 100 dollars. People are getting sick and tired of paying for the high power comsuming x86 hardware configurations, most people don't need those newest multi-ghz multi-core computers, because most people will just need to access the Internet with a basic browser. And most applications will reside on the Internet, with the possibillity to run some applications locally using such a technology as Google Gears for ARM and DSP.
This also means the end of the way Microsoft has been dominating computing until now. Most people do not need Windows Vista. Starting this year and the next, we will see super cheap 100 dollar desktop, laptop and pocket computers which will run optimized Linux OS and most certainly have a super optimized ARM Browser such as the Opera browser we have on the Archos and Nokia devices that are on the market today.
At some point you will want to trade up and get a better connecitivty
The best connectivity is ARM, all mobile phones use ARM and DSP chips.
The best messaging is going to be ARM. Again all mobile phones with messaging are using ARM. All you need is a good stable way to do Jabberand SIP, proprietary IM and VOIP networks will gradually be phased out soon, but support for Skype, AIM, MSN, ICQ and Yahoo is possible on current proprietary ARM devices.
Opera, Apple and hardware manufacturers like Archos and Nokia still have some work to do, but Browsers will work as good as one needs them to work for pocket use using ARM.
Storage can always be better using ARM, just see Archos who has been having over 100GB in pocket devices since 2004.
Everything is hosted at Google, all you need for synchronisation is a browser with something like Google Gears for seamless usabillity.
Nobody wants to read a lot of text on a pocket LCD device. That's why I have suggested that a specific e-ink module be made for an ARM pocket computer like the Archos 5G: http://archosfans.com/2007/06/11/ebook-module-idea/
As the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP show, the best pocket gaming happens using ARM and DSP.
Although some people like the mini-keyboard for ARM devices from the likes of the Blackberry or Mylo, I think the best solution is a larger key size fully foldable external foldout keyboard. You simply can input text 10 times faster with such a full sized keyboard. There is no other way to input text if you want to be productive. The external foldable keyboard could eigther be transported in the other pocket or it could be a clever design that doubles as an LCD protector.http://www.epiacenter.com/bilder/projec ... cube33.jpghttp://770.fs-security.com/maemo-bt-plu ... -white.jpg
Most of mobile Internet use is in the browser. But also one app is VOIP for free wordwide telephony, and especially IPTV apps, basically getting and sending video over the Internet. This is something that Archos is a technology leader among ARM devices. Watching of videos from the Internet, from the local network, from your personal collection of terrabytes of films, this cannot be made as user friendly as the Archos 5G on any other device.
This is where the Microsoft based UMPC is the bad design. The whole Interface of Windows is not made for pocket use. None of start-menu, task bar, or even the concept of windows and the way Windows applications tool bars and interfaces are designed, none of that is suitable for the pocket device. Windows by its definition is the wrong choice when it comes for finger touch-screen use and being a pocket device. Would you then build a Microsoft Media Center GUI and launch that on top of Windows to make it usable on-the-go and in the pocket? Well that would simply make the whole concept of Windows be the wrong thing to have in the first place. Why install Windows in a portable pocket device if it's for installing a non-Windows GUI on top of it?
For now, non-free optimized ARM devices based on free Linux software is the only way to go, since DRM is the law and you want your pocket ARM device to legally access content. But when the laws of digital copyrights will change, then all the source codes will be open and all developpers can help improve the effeciency of Browsers, Communications and Multimedia apps for those mass produced ARM+DSP devices.