CeBIT 2007: Samsung Q1 Ultra and Digital Cube UMPC Hands-On

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Last year at CeBIT Intel and Microsoft teamed up to unveil the UMPC category. A year has passed and while the category has gained some attention, it’s no hot potato. Samsung and Digital Cube each had a new UMPC device at CeBIT 2007 they hope will make some gains for the category.

Samsung Q1 "Ultra"

While at CeBIT 2007 I took a tour around the Samsung booth. They had a lot going on, and probably the most traffic of any booth on the floor. They did not disappoint, many new products and updated existing products were to be found. One of which was the Samsung Q1 "Ultra" UMPC.

First of all, I have to question why Samsung didn’t just call the next generation UMPC Q1 the Q2? Instead, it’s the "Ultra Q1", so does that make it an Ultra, Ultra Mobile PC? Whatever the case, Samsung chose CeBIT 2007 to show off the updated Q1 UMPC that was launched at this very same show last year. The Q1 Ultra has a nicely updated design with a split keyboard approach, fingerprint swipe for security, and integrated HSPDA or WiBro for Internet connectivity from anywhere (if you pay for the necessary monthly subscription from a provider).

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The Q1 Ultra quick specs are as follows:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo ultra low voltage processor (800MHz)
  • 7-inch touchscreen 1024 x 600 WSVGA display
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 60GB Hard Drive
  • Bluetooth, WiFi, HSPDA/WiBro

The new form factor is cool, I really like the thumb pointing stick for moving the cursor. They’ve also added a pen flick feature that allows you to move forward and back through pages by "flicking" the pen. The downside is that the Q1 is still too big and clumsy feeling to use.

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Left side view of Q1 Ultra (view large image)

Right side view of Q1 Ultra (view large image)


Digital Cube i-Station G43 UMPC

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The Digital Cube i-Station G43 UMPC name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, so it might be easier just to call it what it is, the "World’s Smallest UMPC". The 4.3-inch screen UMPC is significantly smaller than the average 7-inch UMPC — such as the Samsung Q1 and the Asus R2. Slated for a summer release in Korea and a late Fall release in North America, this UMPC is closer in size to a PDA than it is a Tablet PC.

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The major complaint I’ve had about the UMPC category is that all the devices to date have been too thick and chunky to feel good using with two hands. Not to mention geeky looking. The Digital Cube device addresses this fact and fits in the hands more easily.

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That’s the good news, but the problem you can see right off the bat with the G43 is that it’s powered by an underwhelming AMD Geode LX800/900 processor running at 500MHz. I thought the Asus R2 was bad with the Celeron 800MHz processor, this can only be worse. While the company didn’t try to cram Windows Vista on there (thank goodness), Windows XP is offered and I’d imagine runs poorly — they didn’t have it out for actual testing though. Digital Cube says they will be offering it with Linux also, which might be a better option given the hardware specs which are:

  • AMD Geode LX800/900 running at 500MHz, throttled to 398MHz
  • 4.3-inch touch-screen display with 800 x 480 resolution
  • 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • 30GB or 60GB HD
  • 512MB RAM
  • Touchpad mouse on the left side
  • Docking Station

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The word is this device will sell for $700 when it comes to market later in the year.



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