In an interesting and rather telling report, Gartner has published their analysis and recommendations on the Ultra Mobile PC announced last week by Microsoft and Intel. Their conclusion Ã¢â‚¬” it has promise, but it has a long ways to go.
My take on their report is that we need to take a wait and see approach before issuing this kind of opinion. I value their opinion and it will obviously carry alot of weight in the industry; however, nobody has really gotten their hands on one long enough to give an informed opinion.
I will agree with Gartner on one point, though: we are at the very beginning of this stage and what was announced last week is not the “ideal” of what Microsoft and Intel want. However, you have to start somewhere, and I think the “somewhere” that we are at right now is as good of a time as any. I don’t agree that nothing should be announced or released – doing something now is the best way to make the UMPC devices better. I do think that most of the folks who will buy them first off will be early adopters like myself, Dennis, Jk, Warner, IT shops, etc.
Like they did with tablet, Enterprises will wait and probably look at the Motion LS800 or Fujitsu P1510D as possibilities. Then when the hardware and battery life get better, they will come around.
But while the UMPC concept has promise, today’s hardware cannot deliver on it. In Gartner’s view, success will require:
- Technology advances that are at least two years away (including an eight-hour battery and a sub-$400 price)
- Low-cost, compelling content bundles (Intel and Microsoft are working on partnerships in this area)
- A better Microsoft shell/interface running on top of Vista
- Text entry options beyond ““thumb-typingÃ¢â‚¬Â
- “Dock and go” synchronization, requiring minimal user interaction
- Sustained market momentum from Microsoft and Intel
Today, we believe it isn’t possible to produce compelling UMPC products Ã¢â‚¬” just “proofs of concept.” The low battery life, high price and non-Vista operating system will likely hurt the UMPC’s market acceptance in this first go-round, and the negative backlash could damage its future chances. For these reasons, we question the timing of this launch: Why rush this to market before it is ready to succeed? Despite the promise of this device category, the UMPC as currently conceived will fail to achieve mainstream success Ã¢â‚¬” defined as unit sales in the millions rather than the thousands Ã¢â‚¬” by 2009 (0.8 probability).
You can also download the PDF version of their analysis here.