Loren On What MIDs Mean for the UMPC Market

Moorestown MID Loren Heiny, a Microsoft Tablet PC MVP, has written up a fantastic essay on his thoughts regarding the Moorestown prototypes and the MID devices rolled out during Intel’s IDF conference.

Intel is squarely marketing its platforms as a Mobile Internet Device, not a UMPC–even though they toss in UMPC support every now and then. It looks to me like Intel is moving its marketing might away from the UMPC. That’s very unfortunate for those that develop and support this platform. Now some could argue that Intel hasn’t done all that much to advocate the UMPC anyway. As a software developer, that would be my opinion. Outside of announcing the UMPC before Microsoft and providing some sneak peeks as various reference designs, I’m not sure what else Intel is doing in terms of UMPC evangelism. I’ve been at Intel events where the people don’t even know one lick about UMPCs, other than some group in Intel works on them. Then again, maybe I’m looking in the wrong places.

…So why aren’t these devices called UMPCs? Yes, many are smaller. Here’s why: Vista isn’t going to be running on the first generation ones. Why not? Vista is too big and expensive for devices like this where the no-brainer goal should be to drive down costs and yield the best experience. Instead Intel is turning to Linux.

I agree with Loren. Devices like the Moorestown prototype, the iPhone, etc are where it is going to be. I have classified my iPhone as a MID with no hesitation – it is a mobile internet device in every sense of the term. The “origami experience” has shifted to devices like these where many people believe they will ultimately take off. For Microsoft to succeed in this space they need to leave Vista behind and concentrate on a small platform OS that gives them the true freedom to innovate, hook in to the Media Center / MediaGuide streaming technologies they own, hook in to Live Mail, and design a capacitive touch UI without all the baggage that a huge OS has on it.

Continue reading Loren’s thoughts on what this means for developers, Silverlight, etc.