I’ve been giving this some thought over the past week and I’m wondering: where are the other Tablet PC OEMs in this whole UMPC thing.
Samsung is the most widely known OEM out there, followed way behind by Asus. Samsung is primarily known for its’ cell phones, though. I had no idea who Founder was before the announcements started coming. Tablet Kiosk is the only current Tablet PC oem that has announced its’ UMPC product. And, while we are on the subject of announced OEMs – why can’t I go to any of their websites and see complete specs, anticipated dates for ordering, etc? Why can’t I see that info on www.microsoft.com/umpc ? Where are the press releases from these OEMs? We are having to hunt this stuff down like crazy, translate specs from chinese, etc – this stuff should be readily available.
Now, back to Tablet OEMs: Where are the Acer’s, the Fujitsu’s, the Electrovaya’s, the HP’s, the Motion’s. What has happened that they chose not to enter this new market or announce their intention to do so? Are they waiting for Vista? Some of them are. That said, I find it very interesting that other than TabletKiosk, none of the existing Tablet PC OEMs have a product announcement and Microsoft didn’t announce any. HP knows about mobile computing scenarios – look at the Tc1100 and ever popular iPaq pocket pc handhelds. Motion’s LS800 all but says “ UMPC “. If they are waiting on Vista to come out with product, that is fine – but announce support and intention for goodness sakes.
What Tablet PC had going for it at its’ launch were major players at the beginning: Toshiba, HP, Acer, and then the introduction of unknowns (Motion, Tablet Kiosk, etc). We’ve got the exact opposite here: unknowns as far as consumers are concerned and no public backing from the major OEMs. The backing was there at the beginning for tablet and more OEMs have followed suit later, and more will follow next year. In that same vein, unless some major OEMs get into the ball game soon in regards to UMPC and start announcing product intentions, I’m worried about the message this sends the public and we will have an uphill battle in terms of UMPC adoption, especially as the buzz dies off – the time to capitlize is now, not a year from now
Personally, I’m very excited about what UMPC brings to the table in regards to mobile computing as a whole – it brings greater awareness to tablet and will ultimately drive down prices for us all. However, for UMPC to really take off and become a credible mobile computing platform, Microsoft needs the major players in the game. As of right now, they are silent and that bothers me, and I think the public is going to take a wait and see approach.
Update: Paul Thurrot is making the same observation I am – where are the major players. These kind of observations and conclusions are going to be hard to get passed.
Also, it’s notable that no major PC makers, such as Dell, HP, or Lenovo, are among the companies pursuing Ultramobile PCs. Perhaps they’ve been disappointed one time too many.