Archive | February, 2007

Summer could bring new Vega UMPC with WiFi, BT and more oomph!

Posted on 28 February 2007

I missed this story in the ‘My Vega’ blog recently. Whoever owns the blog seems to be getting much more info than me as they’ve found out the the new Vega will have WiFi (huzzah!) Bluetooth (whoop!) and an LX900 (jolly good show old bean!)

What were the biggest complaint about the current Vega? WiFi, Bluetooth and CPU power!

The LX900 won’t solve the 3D graphics support issues (which doesn’t help Google Earth at all!) but it will definitely spice up an already impressive little 5-hour sub-umpc package. ‘Snave’ says that the unit will be ready for the summer and it could have a little surprise up its sleeve! 3G? GPS? laser projector? I’m all RSS-ears Snave.

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R2H and Q1 VISTA news from UltraMobile PC Tips.

Posted on 28 February 2007

Frank (CTitanic) has uncovered some great news about Vista on the R2H and Q1 UMPCs.

He’s found a BIOS upgrade for the R2H and reports on one for the Samsung Q1 too.  Both have notes of Vista goodness but no-one has confirmed that it solves any of the Vista problems. It looks like more drivers are needed. Which brings us to  this post from matt Faulkner that talks about Vista drivers being available soon for the R2H. Tracing that story brings as back to Frank again. That guy is doing a damn fine job! Someone throw him a few more UMPCs for  goodness sake!

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New UMPC. Amtek T770 ‘Vistagami.’ Early image/specs revealed

Posted on 28 February 2007

Remember how the ‘Vistagami’ UMPC from Amtek was very nearly completely missed? If it hadn’t been spotted hiding in an Engadget video about the Medion UMPC or tracked down by Gizmodo to a broom cupboard somewhere in Vegas, we might never have had the glimpse that we did.

Today there’s no chance of missing it. We’ve received the OK to post information on it and can reveal that the default color won’t be that rather ghastly green shown on the CES prototype. In fact, it looks quite good with its silver trim. Much better than the T700. Here’s an image.


Spot the photoshop error! Click to enlarge.

Immediately you can see that they’ve added a directional pad to the frame switches and are obviously billing it as a Vista UMPC. Here are the specs (from an early marketing handout. Subject to change of course.)

  • CPU: VIA C7M 1.2Ghz
  • Chipset: VX700M
  • Memory: 1 SODIM slot (max 1GB)
  • Battery: 26W/hr
  • HDD: 2.5″ 40GB
  • Screen: 7″ 800×480
  • Stereo speakers
  • SD Card slot
  • 1,3MP camera
  • WiFi, BT2.0, 2xUSB2.0
  • Cradle connector
  • Weight 850gm
  • Operating system. XP and Vista support.

Unfortunately there’s no word on whether the screen is a LED back-lit part which could enable 4 hours battery life. If not, its back down to sub 3 hours.

It looks like Amtek taken the T700 model and updated it with the new chipset, a faster processor, SD slot and webcam. Basing a design on this platform is no bad thing as, out of all the ‘Origami’ UMPCs, the T700 was about the only one that was built from the ground up as a tablet PC with the correct BIOS and driver design. It also means that there’s another VIA-based UMPC in town that thinks it can take on Vista. To date, there hasn’t been any news about Vista compatible VIA drivers for UMPCs and there are still outstanding queries as to whether this architecture can successfully run videos under Vista. A few people have already proved this to be a problem. Unfortunately VIA are not at CeBit but Medion are and if they don’t reveal the answers I’ll be beating them over the head with a damp copy of the CeBit catalogue.

The information on the T770 comes via Coxion who are planning to put the T770 into their professional sales portfolio.

Update: This UMPC is now being tracked in the product database.

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Gigabyte U60 UMPC looks familiar

Posted on 28 February 2007

According to UMPC France , Gigabyte will be introducing the Arima ULV650 OEM device as the U60 UMPC . Medion have some competition now as this is exactly the device they will be introducing soon . ThereĀ“s no price or availability info but it looks like they will be presenting it at CeBit in a few weeks time and it will be interesting to see if they have the optional docking station, DVB-T module and GPS modules that are not in the Medion version of the device. It will also be interesting to see if it comes with Vista or XP.

Medion UMPC delayed.

Posted on 27 February 2007

I’ve been keeping a close eye on the delivery times for the Medion UMPC. Its been sitting at the 20 day mark for a while. Yesterday it dropped to 14 days signaling the start of the countdown and a very likely availability date of the first day of CeBit. At around the same time as writing the ‘its coming’ post. I received confirmation of a meeting at CeBit with the UMPC product manager and in my reply I mentioned the availability date. Alas, just a few minutes later and just seconds after I had hit the publish button on the ‘its coming’ story, I had a reply saying that the data on the website was wrong. Screeeeeeeech! Unpublish. Just in time. I don’t think it got into any RSS feeds.

Today I got a bit of clarification on the issue. Apparently there have been a large number of orders and the stockpiling is taking longer than expected. Medion Germany will wait for a second shipment of devices from the OEM to ensure a smooth flow of deliveries at launch date. It makes total sense I suppose but its really frustrating. I first reported on the Arima OEM device at the beginning of November last year.

I’ll try and get down to the nitty gritty on the Medion at CeBit. Is the keyboard good or bad and will the VIA C7 be able to handle Vista Media Center!

The German website ‘counter’ has been reset and its now stating ‘more than 20 workdays.’

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Sony Bluetooth head unit. Good value UMPC / CarPC partner.

Posted on 27 February 2007

Guess how much?

This is a the new Sony MEX-BT2500 Bluetooth enabled head unit and not only is it Bluetooth enabled for hands-free mobile phone operation but it supports the A2DP profile which mean that you can stream your music and navigation output from your UMPC straight into your head unit in high quality and without wires. This is something I’ve been looking for for a while but have only seen the Parrot and Pioneer head units. I had no interest in them because they were damn expensive at over $400. The Parrot unit has since come down in price but this new Sony one looks a whole lot nicer. Especially at 185 Euros. That’s a great price for Europe. (found on Amazon.de.)

It has a ‘super sensitive’ mic that can be used for hands-free mode (I wonder if it can be used for speech input on a UMPC via BT?) and there’s a front mounted Aux input for traditional audio connections. Apart from that its a fairly standard unit. It’s not known if it supports track control via a Bluetooth remote profile. (AVRCP)

Its available from the end of March in the UK and European-wide pre-ordering seems pretty easy to find. Info at Sony.co.UK. I’m not sure about the U.S which already has the MEX-BT5000 at around $300 which, now that I’m looking is actually available in Europe at something in the region of $400. Applying the usual crooked mathematics associated with pricing of products in the UK and US and you come to a figure of under $200 for the MEX-BT2500. A complete bargain and wireless freedom.

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How-to: Origami Experience on unsupported devices

Posted on 26 February 2007

Like other Fujitsu P1610 owners, after upgrading to Windows Vista I was disappointed that Origami Experience would not run. After a bit of surfing on the Internet I have found a solution. This will work on any computer, and it will be quick and painless, I promise. Read on…

Note: We updated the article with a way of obtaining the Orca Editor directly from Microsoft. It turns out the previous way was violating some terms. Sorry!

New ASUS R2H model number spotted. Vista inside.

Posted on 26 February 2007

This is reaching the far far corners of geekyness. Someone just emailed about a new model number for an ASUS R2H which appears to have Vista pre-installed. The new model number is R2H-BH040C

Sure enough, the MicroAnvika website has it listed and its the only Google reference to the model so far. But there’s something strange about the website as it mentions the R2H-BH040T in the text too. We’ll keep an eye on this one.

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IPTV for Ultra Mobile Devices

Posted on 26 February 2007

At some point in the future, the PMP has to merge with an important element of the Ultra Mobile PC, namely, the browser. TV/IP services are becoming too important to ignore and anyone who focuses their product at over-the-air broadcasts is going to miss out on ‘world wide TVnet.’ and the advantages is brings to the consumer and the supply chain. The browser will become a critical part of TV just as it is a critical part of the UMPC.

The size and technology of PocketPC, UMPC and PMP devices are overlapping now (Nokia N800 Digital Cube I-Station S43 Raon Digital Vega Uren V1 Sharp EM One) and the wireless technology is here. All that is needed is a few compelling services to choose from and a reasonable data plan similar to Three’s X-Series in the UK (which sadly, doesn’t allow tethering.)

How about Joost? We’ve seen the technology running on UMPCs and just a few days ago, the Joost organisation announced that they had struck a deal with Viacomm. (MTV, Paramount Pictures.) Catchplay is another one to take note of although it hasn’t actually launched yet. This one is interesting becuase VIA and HTC are behind it.

Next week in London, the IPTV World Forum takes place and there’s a huge number of carriers and providers listed in the speakers list. Not many end device manufacturers though and no sessions on ultra mobile devices which is a real shame. Put a set top box in someone’s hand and you can give them ads or sell them content more of the time. Are they all expecting the mobile services to only work on a mobile phone? Its possible but I think people are going to be captivated when they see these services running at on a 5″ screen. Its going to carry a huge amount of Wow and when combined with the sale of data services, maps and bundled with a high-end browser and media player you’ve got a very impressive platform.

Interesting exhibitors from the exhibitor list:

  • Tatung. (Remember the Tatung ‘UMPC’.)
  • Divx. (Their Stage6 Divx content site works really nicely with the LX800-based UMPCs. Here’s a demo I made using the Pepper Pad.)

The Joost team do not appear to be taking part in the forum or expo. You can bet they’ll be there though.

Here’s a nice question: Would you hand over your browsing history and GPS co-ordinates in exchange for free ad-supported mobile TV?

Via promoting VN896 as an Ultra Mobile Solution

Posted on 26 February 2007

VIA are promoting the VN896 Direct-X9 capable chipset for the C7-M as a solution for ‘Ultra Mobility’ on their website at the moment. Interesting.

I’m not aware of any devices using this chipset yet but I get the feeling we’ll see something soon. Vista drivers are already available (and recently updated here.)

It will be important to keep a sharp eye out for devices at CeBit and to try and find out what sort of power envelope the part has. Unfortunately, despite the Direct-X 9 support, the chipset doesn’t enable Aero (as far as is known) but because of the Vista drivers, it gives hope that the Video experience is going to be improved through the use of the on-board Mpeg2/4/WMV9 hardware decoders. The other minus-point for the chip is that its not an integrated north/southbridge like the VX700 integrated chipset. Board designs using this would be bigger than with the VX700.

Launch article here.

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Kohjinsha SA1 review at Pocketables.

Posted on 26 February 2007

I like reading the reviews at Pocketables. Jenn takes a slightly different tack than we do with our reviews here and often comes up with a slightly different focus.

This review of the Kohjinsha SA1 is no different because where I didn’t find the keyboard issue too much of a problem, Jenn finds it a major issue saying that it doesn’t even justify the bulk it adds. The keyboard is, to be frank, pretty crap considering that this is 2007 and the book about basic keyboard engineering must have been written over 20 years ago. It could be so much better but you have to carefully consider and weigh up the advantages of having an ultra mobile device like this against a bigger, heavier device (assuming you need a keyboard) because there is no other option out there at this size and weight. You also need to consider how long you actually need to type for. This article, for example, will take 5 minutes to type and another 5 minutes to format, add image, spell check, post, preview and go live. The typing part is 50% of the time taken and if I use the Kohjinsha, that would take another 5 minutes (The typing speed on the Kohji is around 50% that of a normal keyboard.) It would add 30% to the time to make a blog but to be honest, there are many situations where I’d be happy to type for an extra 5 minutes just to be able to have the extra hour battery life, minimal size and sub-KG weight. Its a trade-off that part of every UMPC purchase decision. The only way to come to a conclusion is to read read read! Read Jenn’s review here and go though some of the other reviews and opinions available through the ‘river of links.’

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CeBit UMPC Social. 16th March. The beers are on me.

Posted on 25 February 2007

Now you’re listening aren’t you!

We’ve been discussing a UMPC meeting in the forum over the last week and although it doesn’t look like we’ll mirror the great success of the UMPC and Tablet PC meet-up at CES, there will definitely be a good showing of devices.

Fujitsu P1610, Tablet Kiosk i7209, Amtek T700, PepperPad, Kohjinsha SA1, Raon Digital Vega, N800 (if I can get it fixed in time!) and possibly a ‘secret device.’ The meeting is open to manufacturers, designers, bloggers, resellers, journalists, product managers…well actually anyone that has an interest in seeing and talking UMPCs. I’ll also be celebrating the launch of UMPCPortal.com (if it all continues to plan) and will be happy to sponsor that lovely German beer for the evening.

We’ll meet on the 16th March (Friday evening) in a place yet to be decided. 2000hrs is the planned meeting time. Exact location to be announced.

If you’d like to come along, please enter your details in this forum thread and enable notification (at the bottom) so you get all the updates.