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There is a business need for the UMPC



My full ““video” review of the LS800 Tablet PC will come later next week, but I wanted to post a few comments that I’ve been able to glean so far and touch on Dennis’ post.

Even though the LS800 is priced way too high to be considered a ““companion” device, I think I’m finally beginning to grasp the concept of it and where it comes in to play. Honestly speaking, I’ve taken the LS800 with me places I just wouldn’t take my x41 — church, to the grocery store, meetings, etc. I’ve actually enjoyed using it more while watching tv than my 12” x41. All I do is sync between my x41 and the ls800 and I’m good to go wherever I want to go. When using it in a chair or in the car, I’m grasping it with both hands — left hand on the buttons, right hand has my pen and holding the right side of the tablet — it feels sooo natural and is the perfect size. Even the TC1100 feels too big once you’ve used the LS800. I’ve told my wife on multiple occassions this weekend how good this tablet feels in my hands. She looks at me like I’m crazy :-).

The LS800 has several benefits over the UMPC, but the one I’ve enjoyed the most and will miss the most is the ability to rotate the screen. When I want to hold it like a paperback book, I can. You can’t do that with the UMPC — they only display in landscape. The major benefit to the business user  – full computer power and nice screen wherever you are in a usable and unobtrusive form factor. This is what the business person has wanted in the pocket pc, but has not never gotten. This form factor gets them closer to that scenario.

Realistically speaking, I could honestly see where a high powered desktop (gasp!) and the UMPC / LS800 would be the perfect companion. I’d struggle monetarily with having two tablet pcs – $4000 + worth of computing power. To me, it just doesn’t make sense monetarily. What this does show me, though, is that there is a price point in there that Microsoft and Intel are both seeing and that we will all see at some point.

As a business user, I can now definitely see the place for a companion device like the LS800 or the UMPC — priced at around $500 — $800. We’ve paid that for iPaqs and Treos, I’d drop that in a second for companion computer. The LS800, however, is priced too high to be that for the every day person. The LS800 would have to be their own computer for the ROI to work out. The only way I could justify keeping the LS800 would be to sell the computer that I have, and I’m not seeing the price / performance benefit of doing that. Motion is going to have to get their pricing in the low $1000 level with 512mb of ram and 30 gb harddrive.

I love the smallness of it, how it feels, how it is unobtrusive in settings where I previously would not bring my x41, and I really appreciate the benefits that the LS800 will have over the UMPC. However, using it the past 5 days has shown me that the business market for the UMPC is there ( if they can get the price right ), and that Motion is going to have to adjust their marketing and pricing approach, or the horizontal market that they have enjoyed (but have not focused on) will all but disappear.

Will Motion get there? I believe so. I don’t think they have a choice. They have a year or so before more UMPC devices begin appearing. If they want to continue to be the leader in the UMPC market ( and yes, the LS800 is the ultimate UMPC in my book and available now!!!), then they will seize the opportunity.

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