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Ultra mobile PCs go head-to-head (or is that “Bang Heads”?)



Ouch.  Has anyone noticed that the Origami / Ultra Mobile PC concept is not getting much good press?  How about NO good press?  Yep — that’s it.

Well, not to belabor the point, but PC World Canada has posted another ripping review where they compare the EO and the Q1 UMPC.  Just to give you a little flavor of the article, read this quote:

“Previously called Origami, the UMPC spec combines a touch screen with a tablet’s pen input. Both the shipping devices I looked at are about the same size and weight: 9 inches wide by 5.5 inches high by 1.25 inches deep, and just under 2 pounds. In fact, if they were red, you’d think they were Etch-A-Sketches with a few extra buttons……”

Etch-A-Sketch?  How original.  Let’s see, Dennis O’Reilly does not like the screen, the leyboard, the performance, the battery, the lack of an optical drive, etc.  I think it is safe to say that he won’t be giving them away for Christmas presents.  He did have one positive comment though:

“On both machines the program did a surprisingly good job translating my cursive and printed scribbles into something approximating English (the TabletKiosk also includes Windows Journal). For a long-time note-taker like me, this is the feature that will make or break a UMPC.”

So the accuracy of handwriting recognition is the deal breaker huh?  Hmmm, guess al those other things he complained about are not really important then!  No wait…, I’m confused now.  Was great handwriting reco one of the main goals of this platform?  Hmmm, maybe we are being a little silly to complain about the lack of battery life, or the on screen keyboard then.  Maybe we should all go back and re-examine the goals of this device.

I know that the V1 units of this device are lacking.  But I am still amused at the feeding frenzy of negative information that has come forth.  I go back to the introduction of Tablet PC’s and the bad press there was at that time.  It has taken us 3 plus years to get tablets that were at a good price point, feature set, and usability we want, and we did get there in spite of the bad press.  My interesting thought for the day is that I really wonder if bad press actually helps the development of a product, or hurts it?  Hmm, bad press = slow sales, = slow product development, = slow reality of good equipment.  Now I am in no way suggesting that the press should not share facts, show where products are weak, or hide info from the public who are making purchasing decisions.  It’s just the use of phrases like “Etch-a-Sketch” that can really flavor a persons thinking that get me annoyed.

I still have great hope for the UMPC.  I know that none of what is out there yet is exactly stellar, but V1 devices rarely are.  I am willing to be patient.  I will report where the devices are having issues.  What I won’t do is join the game of sensationalism that some many press pundits like to play, nor try and judge it in areas outside it’s stated goals.

Nuff said.

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