In personal computers, Ultra-Mobile PC (often abbreviated UMPC) is a small form factor (a standard size and shape) for tablet PCs and subnotebook/netbooks. Besides netbooks of 7-10 inch, 13.3 inch subnotebooks are also included. The form factor was originally developed as part of Project Origami, and at first only included tablet pc's. The project was a joint development exercise by Microsoft, Intel, and Samsung, among others. Intel is also responsible for the Mobile Internet Device, a variation on the UMPC concept.
Project Origami Ultra-Mobile PCs have a 20 cm (8-inch) or smaller touch sensitive screen at a minimum resolution of 800 × 480. To make it more suited for the small form factor, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is used with slight tweaks to the interface . In addition, a software suite known as the Touch Pack Interface is included to make the interface more suitable for use of a stylus as well as hands.
The Project Origami Ultra-Mobile PC is just a platform for which manufacturers can design any model they want, provided they meet or exceed the baseline specifications laid down by Intel and Microsoft. However, UMPCs are capable of running a full version of most PC operating systems. When the UMPC was disclosed at CeBIT 2006, Samsung, ASUS, and Founder had near-complete devices on display.
UMPCs with Windows XP installed are able to run any software that has been written for the Windows XP platform, though the small form factor often mandates some changes to the interface. The standard Windows XP interface is the default, though a choice of having an interface more suited for the small form factor is available with the Touch Pack Interface. As the units are so small, many UMPCs do not feature a physical keyboard, but an on-screen virtual keyboard provided in the Touch Pack Interface. Also, since the device has standard USB 2.0 connectivity, external keyboards and mice can be attached.
UMPC devices include either Intel or VIA processors, 256 MB to 2 GB of RAM, and a 30 to 160 GB hard disk, depending on the manufacturer. Other ultra mobile devices feature AMD or Transmeta Crusoe CPUs. Ultra-Mobile PCs can also feature Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, webcams, fingerprint readers, stereo speakers, TV tuners, and memory card readers. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and WWAN connections are sometimes included as well.
UMPCs have enough processing power to support audio, video, and gaming, in addition to having rich support for browsing the internet as well as for other communication and networking applications. Windows Media Player is included, with a special skin designed to provide a better experience on the small screen. The devices also feature DirectX 9–class graphics, and all applications available for standard Tablet PCs are expected to be compatible.
Prices of UMPCs are gradually coming down to the US$500 range. Battery life is expected to increase from the initial 2½ hours to 8 hours. Most UMPCs are now available with Windows Vista although many new UMPCs come with the option to have XP installed, as some devices are too sluggish to run Vista.One example of this is the Samsung Q1 Ultra which originally launched with only Vista versions, but has subsequently launched Windows XP versions.. This is largely due to the fact that current UMPC hardware is usually too close to the minimum Vista requirements to be comfortably used.
Much speculation positioned Origami as a portable gaming device that would directly compete with Nintendo's DS and Sony's PSP. This rumor gained credibility after videos were leaked showing Halo: Combat Evolved being played on a UMPC. While the movie was quickly taken down from its original source, mirrors exist on many other sites. Later in the week, the Associated Press confirmed that "Origami" was actually to be a regular PC with "limited gaming capabilities".
The AMtek T700 is sold in the USA as the TabletKiosk eo v7110, agoPC ago7, and Azentek GB-810, in Europe as the PaceBlade EasyBook P7 and its Label Origami, and in Australia the TabletKiosk eo v7110 and the Pioneer DreamBook UMPC 700 and in Japan the PBJ SmartCaddie.
In September 2006, Raon Digital launched the Vega running a AMD Geode LX800, 256MB of RAM, and a 30GB hard drive. It has a 4.3" screen, a 500MHz processor, and a battery life of 5.5 hours. It runs Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition and retails for 680,000 Korean won (U$700-750). However it does not have WiFi capability.
In early October 2006 Samsung quietly launched the Q1B, bringing the Ultra Mobile platform closer to the vision that Microsoft created. The Q1b features a VIA C7-M ULV processor running at 1GHz, up to 5 hours of battery life, and a lower price point than the Samsung Q1. It also has optional modules for HSDPA or WiBro for ubiquitous internet connectivity in major cities around the world. Also a new UMPC on the market is the T770 from AMtek. It is a Windows Vista powered device with a 1200MHz processor and 1024MB of RAM. It has a 40GB hard disk (or 60GB on another cheaper brand, and also the same device) and a 7" screen. It is available for 899€ (the cheaper brand is 849€).
In 2007, Bill Gates introduced the OQO model 02 in his keynote at CES 2007 The OQO model 02 is now shipping with a 5-inch/12.7-cm screen, EV-DO WWAN, Bluetooth, 802.11 a/b/g WiFi, running Microsoft Windows XP and Vista. OQO has won quite a few computer and design awards, including Guinness World Records recognition of OQO model 02 as the world's smallest fully functional computer
In August 2007, Raon Digital launched their second UMPC 'Everun' which has built in WiFi and HSDPA. It uses the AMD Geode LX900. Everun is introduced as the UMPC with the longest battery life—as much as 6-7 hours with its standard battery and 12 hours with a large battery. Unlike its previous model 'VEGA', Everun has a full qwerty key pad, aesthetically similar to a Smartphone, which appeals to the mobile commuter.
Around the same date, CHIP.DE featured an article about the R2H from ASUS, which runs a Windows Tablet PC edition OS on its Intel Celeron system. It has a VGA-TV output, GPS, 3 USB ports, 60GB hard drive and 512MB RAM. It also offers wired/wireless network capabilities. In Germany, its current price is €939 at Amazon.de.
In 2008, more and more computer companies are moving in to the 13.3 inch UMPC/subnotebook market. 13.3 inch notebooks provide a good balance between workability and mobility, and are often also more powerful than 8.9-10 inch UMPCs. The 8.9-10 inch UMPCs (which include the Eee PC, OLPC, etc.) may soon prove tiresome to work on for extended periods of time. 13.3 inch notebooks, as well as Tablet PCs of at least 10 inch (tablet PCs feature more screen than comparable sized notebooks) are considered to have less a problem with this issue. New companies that have come into the market are LG, Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony, Apple, MSI and Averatec.
In September 2008 Nova Mobility announced its second generation Side Arm 2 Industrial UMPC. This unit is designed around the Intel Atom processor and is the first industrial grade UMPC released on that platform. It has GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth standard and 3G as an option. You can also have EVDO via the PCI Express card slot in the top of the unit. 2 USB ports, 7" touch screen and one hand type able QWERTY keyboard are available and its under 2 lbs and you can get up to 10 hours of battery life.
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