Although I still believe that UMPC devices will remain a niche market, similar to that of the Tablet PC, they do have potential. One of the biggest drawbacks to them is the lack of a physical keyboard and that’s where Sony’s newest variation of their U Series VAIO, the UX Micro PC, has a leg up on the competition. Naturally, Sony is eschewing the whole UMPC moniker and continuing to do their own thing, but the UX Micro doesn’t lack for features because of that. Crammed into its tiny enclosure (150.2 x 95 x 38.2mm closed) is a 4.5” XBrite touchscreen LCD with a 1024x600 resolution, an Intel Core Solo ULV processor running at 1.06GHz, an itty-bitty keyboard, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, EDGE, USB 2.0, a MemoryStick Duo slot, a CompactFlash slot, a folding antenna,two
cameras and a biometric fingerprint sensor. If that’s not enough, a docking station is included that tacks on three more USB ports, FireWire, Ethernet, VGA output, and an A/V port. There’s got to be a kitchen sink in there somewhere.
It all comes at a price though, and a painful one at that - $1,800 USD when it becomes available in July.
So, we are finally starting to get some feedback on the much-hyped Origami platform. As it turns out, Samsung Q1 UMPC reviews are starting to trickle in, and what we knew would be the case seems to be true. According to the Washington Post, The Q1 is simply lacking in a few key areas, namely screen size and hard drive space. Even so, it wouldn’t be so bad if the Q1 weren’t set to retail for way more than Microsoft led us to believe that the UMPC platform would sell for. So, it appears that the verdict on this one is to wait a while. We either want to see a feature set increase, or a price decrease before we put down the dough for one of these.
Read More | Washington Post
When you’ve got a sleek, lightweight audio player like the iPod nano, you don’t want to clutter it up with all kinds of bulky or cumbersome attachments. That’s why the ANYCOM Bluetooth adapter, dubbed the BluNa, is so nice. Weighing only 10 grams, the BluNa slips onto the bottom of the nano, adding a negligible amount of length, and provides Bluetooth audio support in the form of A2DP and AVRCP profiles. The BluNa gets its power from the nano, which is good for weight savings, but will diminish your battery life to some degree.
Available in June 2006 for approximately $100 USD.
The new TORQ N100 from Sound Solutions is a well rounded WM5 mobile phone that features not only quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz), but a SiRF Star III GPS as well. You won’t find an Intel XScale processor in the N100, which probably explains it’s fairly decent battery life of 3.5-4 hours talk time and 10-15 hours PocketPC usage. Instead, a Samsung CPU running at 400MHz fulfills all computational duties. Other features include a reasonable amount of memory with 128MB ROM and 64MB RAM, a 2.8-inch TFT LCD touchscreen at 240x320, Bluetooth v1.2, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and a mini-SD card slot.
Notable by their absence is any form of broadband be it Wi-Fi, EDGE or UMTS. A real shame considering the TORQ N100 has just about everything else. Okay, a VGA screen would be nice if we’re being picky, and well, we are.
The TORQ N100 will be available May 2006 with pricing TBA.
MSI has announced a brand new portable media player in the D310. What makes the D310 unique is the Freeview digital TV receiver, which MSI claims is a world first. The device has a 4.2 inch screen and uses an internal antenna to pick up DVB-T signals, teletext, and electronic program guide data. MSI includes a 2300mAh battery, which provides the device with up to three hours of TV viewing or five hours of MP3 playback. MPEG-4 playback is supported along with the ability to display JPEG images, but with only 1MB of internal storage, you’ll have to use an MMC or SD card to use these features. MSI is including a pair of headphones, and a remote control. There is also a built in speaker and an AV jack which allows you to hook it up to a TV. The device is expected to debut in Europe next month, and will retail for €222 ($274.00.)
Read More | Reg Hardware
If you have been keeping your eye out for a UMPC that doesn’t seem like it will suck, keep an eye on the Averatec AHI. While other manufacturers are designing UMPCs that look pretty much the same, Averatec is mixing it up a bit. Most other UMPCs have 7-inch touch screens, while the AHI has a smaller 5-inch touch screen. With a 7-inch screen, the complaint arises that the device is hard pressed to be considered “ultra-mobile.” Averatec’s approach solves that. In fact, it seems to solve a host of complaints that many have had with other UMPC devices. For example, located directly under the screen is a slide out keyboard. The device also boasts a SXGA 1280 X 1024 display. Connectivity will not be a problem, as it has integrated Bluetooth, Ethernet, 802.11g WiFi, and a dial-up modem. Even better, it should also have 3G functionality, and a GPS receiver as well. A 2 megapixel camera, 2 USB ports, and an SD/MMC slot add to the ultra-portable goodness.
For those that want to use their new UMPC for fun, the AHI boasts a dock that gives it DVD functionality. All these innovative features come at a cost - the Averatec UMPC will not be running the special version of Windows designed for UMPCs; it will be running the Tablet PC version of Windows instead. You can expect to see the AHI by Christmas. Pricing is not yet known, but it’s expected to be available in multiple configurations in the $600-1100 range.
Read More | The Register
You may have heard about Modeo, the US company pushing for the DVB-H TV standard. DVB-H is one of many new standards to transfer TV signals to wireless portable devices. The new smartphone boasts Windows Mobile 5, and will be capable of receiving live TV in the new format. With an Nvidia GoForce 5500 graphics chip and an on-board electronic program guide, this handset is packing plenty of TV watching power. This handset also boasts a 200MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 850 processor, 128 MB of Flash ROM, 64MB of SDRAM, a 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth 1.2, and a Micro SD expansion slot. Whether or not Modeo will allow shows to be recorded to memory is still unknown. This new handset seems to be troubled with the power issues that most smartphone devices have. Even with an 1150mAh battery, only 3 hours TV viewing time, 4 hours talk time, or 6 days of standby mode are achieved. Modeo is currently working on putting the necessary hardware in place to be able to broadcast shows to the handset. They plan on putting up towers in several major cities in 2006, and by 2007 they hope to be rolling out the mobile TV goodness everywhere. It will be interesting to see if Modeo plans to make money off of the handset, or off of a possible content subscription service. Pricing is not yet set, but we will keep you posted on this extraordinary handset.
Read More | Reg Hardware
It seems that even though digital reading devices have not gained popularity since the inception of the e-text, Sony is willing to give eBooks another chance. The Sony Reader PRS-500 will debut in Borders and more than 30 Sony Style stores around the United States, as well as online. The device will be about the size of a paperback novel, but is considerably thinner at about a half inch thick. Sony will allow users to carry as much reading material as they like by including both Memory Stick and Secure Digital flash memory slots. Content will not be limited to only eBooks either - Sony plans on allowing Adobe® PDF documents, BBeB Books, and other text file formats to be placed on the Reader. These electronic reading devices have historically not been very popular, but perhaps this time around Sony will get it right.
Read More | Sony Style
It looks as though Samsung will be one of the first companies to have an Ultra Mobile PC available for purchase. We gave you insight into the UMPC just a few weeks ago, and with products about to hit the shelves, it’ll be interesting to see if they fly, or flop. Granted, they’re very cool from a gadget standpoint as they do a little bit of everything, but that may be the whole crux of the problem. Devices that do a bit of everything tend to not do any of them really well, and turn out to be rather mediocre as a whole. Somehow this smacks of the Tablet PC all over again in that there isn’t a strong market for the product (even less so with the UMPC), but I digress . . . on with the show.
Expansys has the Samsung Q1 UMPC up for pre-order for £799.95 (~ $1,390 USD). The specifications are what you’d expect of an “everything but the kitchen sink” type of device. Running a Celeron M ULV CPU at 900MHz, it comes with 512MB RAM, a 7” WVGA LCD (800x480), Bluetooth, GPS, Wireless (802.11 a/b/g), and more. About the only thing missing would be some form of high speed data like UMTS or EVDO, but that was never in the design specs anyway.
Full specifications after the jump.
The Archos AV700 handheld video device is the first to sport two DTT tuners. With 40 GB of hard drive space, the device is capable of recording 35 hours of digital TV programs. The DVR software records shows to the hard drive in MPEG-2 TS format. There is also onboard scheduling software, allowing you to look through an episode guide so that you won’t miss a show. Archos designed this device for the road, and claims that TV can be viewed in the car while traveling up to 80 mph - something that isn’t possible with standard single-antenna DTT receivers. The AV700 also comes with the Mophun mobile phone games engine, but the focus here is truly on video. The device is also capable of playing MP3, WMA, and WAV files. All of this mobile media goodness comes with a pretty steep price tag though, as the AV700 is expected to retail at about $841.00. Detailed specifications after the jump.
Read More | RegHardware