How times quickly change. When the Origami / Ultra-Mobile PC platform was rolled out in 2006, Microsoft and Intel defined the platform as having a touch screen that was seven inches or smaller. They then modified that to include devices with active digitizer screens like the OQO Model 02.
Now, we are seeing devices like the Asus Eee PC get labeled as a Ultra-Mobile PC, and for good reason. It is ultra, mobile, and a pc. But it lacks a touch screen, at least coming pre-installed from the OEM that way. In a large measure, though, Asus has changed the name of the game by coming out with a low price, ultra-portable solution.
So, really, what is a Ultra-Mobile PC? Do the old rules apply or should we treat any computer less than 10 inches as a Ultra-Mobile PC? What is the difference really between an Ultra-Mobile PC and a Ultra-Portable PC? What about devices like the Sony TZ series with its 11 screen? Isn’t it ultra, mobile, and a pc? What is the optimal screen size to be considered ultra and mobile. Is touch or an active digitizer even a pre-req anymore?
These are questions that we struggle with daily at GBM, as they drive the areas in which we should cover, but not branch out too far. When developing the guidelines for the UMPC Of The Year, we chose to stick fairly close to Microsoft’s original guidelines by insisting it either had a touch screen or an active digitizer, but be less than 10 inches. I don’t think we can realistically do that in 2008, though.
So – help us out here: define the Ultra-Mobile PC.