Microsoft and partners plan to put a new face on mobile PCs at CES in a few days. During his speech at CES, Bill Gates is expected to show off new approaches to the UMPC format that is an attempt to straddle the PDA and Tablet PC categories.
The first-generation UMPCs, codenamed Origami, were criticized for high costs, poor usability, performance and battery life. However Microsoft and supporters still believe there is a place for these lightweight, mini Tablets that use a pen as their primary means of input.
The new UMPCs are rumored to include new processors from Intel, AMD and VIA, which are designed to maintain performance while using less power. Upgrading to the Windows Vista platform may offer a more attractive user interface and even performance improvements, which would be helpful. Some users have already experimented with upgrades from Windows XP on Samsung, Asus and TabletKiosk units.
With 32GB flash memory cards emerging from companies such as SanDisk manufacturers can now swap hard drives to optimize the form factor. In fact Samsung previously said it plans a flash-based successor to the Q1 and is sampling chips that can also be used to supplement RAM using Windows Vista’s ReadyBoost feature. Both HTC and Tatung are expected to bridge the UMPC and Pocket PC formats by using Windows Mobile as the operating system in mini Tablets, while other vendors are planning to offer keyboards to supplement pen input.
PC makers are also expected to show off notebooks featuring Windows SideShow at CES. SideShow is a feature that lets key data such as email and appointments be shown externally on a small display on notebook cases, remote controls or other auxiliary devices even if the notebook is switched off.
Thanks to IT Week for the tip.