Archive | May, 2007

Everun promo video.

Posted on 31 May 2007

I’ve just got round to having a second, more detailed look at the Raon Digital website. A few things have struck me about the Everun as very very cool. Firstly, the optical finger mouse. Its the first time I’ve ever seen one on a UMPC. I’ve never used one either (apart from playing around with my own optical mouse!) Secondly, its got a mini PCI-Express port for the 3G modules. Could be useful for other things too! Finaly, theres the auto rotate function. Knowing, as I do, that the resolution change on the AMD chipset is very very fast, it could be really usefull with that keyboard. Rather than flipping out a keyboard or opening the TIP, you just rotate and use the keyboard! Excelent idea.

I’ve finished updating the product page now and will add the model variants into the database tommorrow. I’m hoping to get some pricing too. If it comes in, as they say, below the Vega pricing then its going to be very attractive.

There’s a YouTube promo video on the website. Check it out below.

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Raon Digital Everun UMPC launched.

Posted on 31 May 2007

Everun UMPCLatest! I am testing a production sample. Videos & thoughts available.

Update: Tracking news and info on the Everun specification page. The model-comparison page is also available now.

A rumor that hasn’t been circulating as long as the Palm ‘UMPC’ rumor is the Raon Digital Vega 2 info. Its just been launched. Its the Raon Digital Everun.


Gallery available here.

You’re looking at one unique design there and we’re going to have to do a lot of analysis before we come up with a conclusion on the design but in the meantime, take a look at some of these great specs.

  • LX900-based (600Mhz AMD Geode)
  • 4.8″ 800×480 screen (Touch)
  • HDD and SSD options
  • Full qwerty keypad
  • Wifi and BT2.0
  • HSDPA integrated
  • 7 hours of battery life with the standard battery.
  • 500g (with standard battery)
  • 170mm x 25mm x 83mm

As for price, they are talking about a lower price than the previous model. That translates to about $1000 after import. Delivery is planned for middle of July.

Update:

Here’s a jpg of the specifications.

Update: PocketPC solutions in the UK have announced that they will sell this model. Delivery is expected for late July. Pricing not available.

Update 2: Dynamism have a product page too. No pricing again though. Come on guys. We need pricing (and review devices!)

Raon Digital Everun webpage:

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N800 Navigation Kit – Unboxing

Posted on 31 May 2007

image As I wrote a few days ago, I took a few days out last weekend and went to Holland. On the way I used Autoroute 2007 and tested it out as far as I could. At the same time, mounted on the screen, was the Nokia N800. I was using it because of the great Canola media player. How nice it would have been to have a navigation solution on it too.

Thoughtfix to the rescue! He’s just unboxed the Nokia navigation kit. I had a little chat with him this evening and he seems pretty positive about it. It certainly sounds better that the Autoroute solution. mind you, it costs a lot more!

What I don’t like about the Navigation solution is that you can’t buy a software-only package. I already have a car mount and a GPS so I don’t want to go out and have to buy those items again. I’ve looked around but if anyone knows any different, let me know too!

Looking forward to the full review Thoughtfix.

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MDS Technology – AMD-based UMPC design

Posted on 31 May 2007

image

For a company that doesn’t really do much to promote its Geode platform as a UMPC building block, AMD are having a pretty good day.

The wonderful-looking Raon Digital Everun is getting some positive response and on top of that, here’s another nice looking solution.

Underneath the simple but stylish exterior there’s an AMD LX800 CPU with Wifi, 1.3MP camera, CF card slot and a 1024×600 (possibly a bit too hi-res) LED back-lit screen. It’s loaded with Windows XP.

It looks to be pocketable (pocketables.net – here’s one for you!)  and with its small 17W/hr battery it should be pretty lightweight. There’s also info on an Extension module (we like those!) which gives you the LAN and VGA-port you’ll need for desktop work.

The UMPCPortal ‘network’ is seeing what it can dig up in terms of pricing and availability and in the meantime, I’m going to be wondering if the MID Linux projects are going to support the Geode CPU and chipset. They could form the basis of a nice low-end Linux-based web-pad. Oh hold on.. they already do! Sorry PepperPad!

MDStec website here.

Q1 Ultra. First customer reported!

Posted on 30 May 2007

Q1 Ultra News This could be a Foleo diversion tactic but its worth it in my opinion. Get over to Origamiproject forums and drill new member Grandall for info. It looks like he’s one of the first customers of the Q1 Ultra and better still, it looks like he’s prepared to take questions!

Go gadget go!

Q1 Ultra info here.

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Foleo announcement.

Posted on 30 May 2007

“This is a Linux appliance with good keyboard, good display, long battery life… it’s always a focus on simplicity”

…and a serious lack of wow factor. The techno heads are going crazy calling it a ‘crippled laptop’ and worse! Its bound to be a success!

The Palm Foleo has just been announced and from what I can see, its a simplified MID with the emphasis on keyboard and screen size. An instant on basic-services laptop that partners with smartphone products.

Its got a 10″ screen (that looks like 1024×768) [update. Its 1024×600] and a full size keyboard with scroll wheel. Its got an optimized operating system based on Linux and will give you email, web browsing, photo viewing.

The concept is perfect. Its exactly what I believe is the hole in the market. A need for a large screen, a need for a keyboard and a need for an optimized operating system and an easy price. 10/10 to Palm for bringing that concept to the fore.

There are a few problems though. It relies too heavily on the smartphone. There’s doesn’t seem to be any local storage, it doesn’t support video of any sort (I’m guessing its based on a RISC processor – hence the Opera Browser and lack of video support.) and its big! Too big for a seat-back table on a flight or train. Too big to be used on the dashboard of a car. Too big for emails. There doesn’t appear to be WiFi on board either. [update: There’s Wifi on board. Phew!] On top of that, its not going to win any rave reports from the hi-tech Internet community. 

Update: Linux devices reports that it weighs 2.4lbs (over 1kg. Ouch thats heavy) and “has 256MB of RAM, and expandable storage via SD and CompactFlash slots. I/O includes VGA out, USB, Bluetooth, and Wifi. ” They also think it probably has a RISC processor inside.

Update: PCMagazine claims “it can deliver five full hours (even while using Wi-Fi the entire time)” Not exactly earth shattering performance from a RISC-based device that weighs over 1KG.

Its bound to be a success though! Companies can finally buy cheap mass-market Internet tablets for their lower-end traveling staff. You know, the ones that fill laptops with P2P software and viruses. The ones that lose them on the train after a night on the town after work!

As I mentioned earlier today, this is a very targeted device and it could win over a sub-set of people (not the media execs I was talking about but the lower end of the traveling employee market) and will boost help the whole Ultra Mobile computing segment by introducing the concept of Internet-on-the-go. Just like the iPhone will. And when some of the customers of these products realise they need more that just a restricted Internet experience (the RISC-based Internet experience) then they’ll probably find themselves a nice product in an x86-based Ultra Mobile device.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, the Foleo doesn’t make the grade for inclusion into the UMPCPortal database but I hope that, just like the iPhone, version 2 will come through with flying colors.

Palm Foleo homepage.

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Palm Foleo pre-announcement news.

Posted on 30 May 2007

According to a Palm RSS feed, the mystery device is, as expected, going to be a device that sits in the gap between the smartphone and PC.

TreoCentral reports on the finding which includes information on a low-end UMPC-like device which is Linux based and includes software from Opera. Its said to have a large screen and full-size keyboard capability.

Foleo has a large screen and full size keyboard to view and edit email and office documents. Edits made on Foleo automatically are reflected on its paired smartphone and vice versa.

Obviously a lot of questions fall to mind so I’m going to wait until the Webcast goes live in a short while to find out for real. In the meantime, keep an eye on this link: Palm Foleo which should, apparently, go live soon.

Via Pocketables.

Looking forward to Computex and VTF

Posted on 30 May 2007

CES, CeBIT, IDF and now Computex. This is one of the last big expos of the year (its heads-down to actually make and sell devices after this!) and according to feedback I’ve had from various people that are going out there, its one of the craziest. ‘Take cash’ said one. ‘Make sure you get into all the hotel meetings’ said another. ‘The Wifi coverage is crap’ was the most recent tip!

I was a gnats-hair away from going but due to cost and the Solar UMPC tour preparations I’ll be setting up camp VTF here in Bonn  and covering it from afar. In order to keep the coverage fresh and detailed I’ve teamed up with Epiacenter.com , a site that covers VIA’s low-power and small form factor Mini-ITX domain. The guys from Epiacenter will be out in Taipei for the whole exhibition and will  be following the Ultra Mobility track in the VIA technical forum (VTF) on the 6th June. I expect this to be the day when we’ll see the official announcements on new devices, technology and roadmaps. VIA have recently published the agenda and speaker list for VTF and its nice to see that Otto Berkes, father of the Origami Project, will be speaking. Also interesting is a keynote slot for Packard Bell. What are they up to? And why are AMD paying $5K to be a Gold Sponsor?

High up on my watchlist is ASUS who were showing the T83 at CeBIT. I’m also keeping an eye on HTC who won’t surprise me if they announced a VIA-based version of the Shift. A VIA-based Q1 Ultra isn’t out of the question either. Raon Digital are also overdue for announcing the next version of the Vega (AMD based.) I’m hoping that we’ll hear information about silicon developments from VIA in the CoreFusion range. ‘John’ was announced a year ago and its about time VIA brought it to market, hopefully DirectX9 capable. There’s a chance that we might hear about the roadmap for future Ultra Mobile processors (C8-M perhaps?) and of course, there are bound to be a few surprises.

Computex kicks off on the 4th June with some press conferences. The main exhibitors show starts on the 6th June and VTF is all-day on the same day. I’ve already set my alarm for 0400 on the 6th. 7 days to go.

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Palm to launch new device today. Rumored to be a UMPC.

Posted on 30 May 2007

The rumored Palm device becomes reality today. Palm have officially confirmed that they will launch a new device today by posting a press invitation for a live web conference.

Palm to Announce New Mobile Device on May 30

There are no clues as to what the device might be but most people in the online mobile community believe that it will be a device that sits between the smartphone and notebook PC market. A mobile computing device. Possibly a low-end or targeted UMPC.

Palm usually take a very targeted approach to their products. Where Windows is a catch-all solution, Palm have tended to focus in to a target group of users so it will be very interesting to see what market they will aim for (I’m guessing the media exec market that hasn’t been hit by Apple yet.) and what device that they come up with.

The palm Webcast is planned for 11:30am Pacific Time. Later in the day Steve and Bill will be on the stage. Its going to be a busy day today for a lot of bloggers!

Via GigaOM.

Streets, Trips and Sideshow.

Posted on 29 May 2007

Like many others across the world, I’ve been relaxing over the last three days. I took the family (of UMPCs, along with my wife and kid!) to Holland where we had a lovely relaxing time by the sea. I managed to stay offline for most of the time but its quite difficult when there’s free WiFi access around you! I couldn’t help but at least keep up with my RSS feeds and there’s two topics that I want to briefly report on before I get fully back into the swing of things tomorrow morning. The first has nothing to do with news at the weekend – Microsoft Autoroute, and the second does – Microsoft Sideshow.

Autoroute is fantastic…for co-drivers.

Autoroute (Europe) / Streets & Trips (America) has got to be one of the best value programs around. I don’t ever remember buying a program with as much current, useful information and interactivity in it for such a cheap price. The details on the moving map are great. The points of interest are endless and the fact that it can plan a route between 2 houses in two different places in Europe will never cease to amaze me. On the way to Holland my wife took the wheel which gave me a good chance to play with it and get to know it. Setting it up with a Bluetooth GPS was simple and entering start and end points was a doddle. Turning in the turn-by-turn directions was easy and the full screen option was a pleasure to watch. And all this in the comfort of my two hands. Which is actually the main point I wanted to make. It ant no drivers-aid so don’t ever think that Autoroute is going to be your co-pilot. You definitely need some concentration and a pair of hands to operate it. I’d love to see it integrated into Origami experience for the 2008 version. If they re-designed the OE interface for single finger usage (and ported it to Windows XP) I think I’d be happy to pay $50-$80 dollars for what could make a nice basic in-car setup. In its current version though its just a tool for a passenger or during a service-station stop.

Microsoft Windows Vista SideShow Sideshow. I don’t see an attraction.

Over the weekend there was a video of a sideshow-enabled Samsung Q1 doing the rounds. Jkkmobile then followed-up with positive thoughts about the possibilities. I had to time to think about it and do some research (I confess – I’m no sideshow expert so I had to do some reading) and I’ve currently got a rather negative feeling about it along with a list of thoughts. The way I see it is that Sideshow is there to enable the presentation of simple data either pulled from the sideshow cache or the local storage on a paired device or through a wake-up process that activates, hopefully, only the components required to pull in data from other sources. Its an always-on simple and remote data-display.

What advantage is a sideshow device going to give you over an Ultra Mobile PCs or Mobile Internet Device? Well, instant, always-on viewing of your calendar and recent emails is one thing. Audio playback is another. Document display could be nice along with, maybe a simple image sideshow applications. Cached RSS feeds would be nice. There’s also the advantage that you can do all that with a very long battery life and at a low cost. By adding this feature to a UMPC hardware you can even utilize some components of the UMPC. You end up with a big sideshow device with a long battery life and huge storage. But how much of an advantage it that? You get to access SOME of your static data and preserve battery life. The problem I have with it is that most of those advantages are already something I have with me all the time, on my cellphone…without me having to buy a Vista-based UMPC or home PC! And in a few years, the timescale it would take sideshow to get mainstream, a low-end UMPC or even an x86-based smartphone will have 8 hours battery life instant-on capabilities anyway. It might even have a detachable, persistent, daylight-readable Bluetooth connected screen. Isn’t a PC in my pocket more useful than a bolt-on sub-set of the PocketPC?

Where’s the compelling reason to buy a sideshow enabled device? Where the unique feature that solves a problem or improves efficiency? Its a nice bit of tech for sure but that’s not something that’s going to appeal to everyone or add value to every personal computing device and certainly not the UMPC. Think about these issues:

  • Accessing local data requires screen, hard drive and bus in most cases. As the power-envelope of CPUs and chipsets tends towards negligible, the only UMPC power drain you are left with is the screen, the storage and the radios. If you implemented a slideshow device today, you might see a tangible advantage but in 18 months time, I can’t see there being a massive power-drain advantage in viewing my email through a reduced-size sideshow device over a fully working UMPC.
  • Retrieving information from remote home or Internet servers is going to require the use of a radio. Again, minimal advantage over using a UMPC.
  • The low-end sideshow devices don’t look like they’ll be able to play any high-end media. I doubt they’ll be able to provide a decent video experience on a 800×480 screen that’s for sure. No Powerpoint presentations, no flash, no plugins.
  • Where’s the value of cached RSS feeds when many always-on, always-with-you feature-phones give you a the capability to read cached or even live feeds.
  • Where’s the browser? What happens when I click on a URL in an email – do I get a sideshow browser? No. You have to bring your UMPC out of standby anyway. Whats the switch-over time from sideshow to UMPC?
  • Will the gadgets actually be able to use an 800×480 or 1024×600 screen or will someone have to write a new set of gadgets that make use of the full UMPC screen?
  • How are ‘push’ services handled? Always-on radio?
  • The N800 Internet tablet will play music for nearly 10 hours. The Q1b with extended battery will also play music for 10 hours but are people buying UMPCs to play music? Will a sideshow device drive sales of UMPCs as music players? No!
  • How much will touch-enabled sideshow hardware add to the cost of my mass-market UMPC or MID? (I saw one report that it could add $100 – that will be too much for a mass-market device.
  • If I want an efficient operating system, why should I have to bolt on extra hardware to a desktop system just to make it useable in low-processing power situations? The hardware and operating system need to be tailored for UMPCs. Using sideshow to solve a battery life problem is a botch.
  • Why should you have to pay for a Vista license and sideshow hardware just to have an always-on, slim and efficient interface?
  • Why should the user be forced to learn a second interface?
  • Requires windows vista on UMPC or home PC (heavyweight, unoptimised, expensive.)
  • What I do see is that for those that are using the Microsoft environment in every part of their mobile technology (home server, windows smartphone, windows UMPC) it could be nice to have a sideshow device on your mobile phone that can use the UMPC, smartphone or home server when required. In fact, with some development it could a smart-screen device that kills the MID segment! Its going to nice for the fashion market and there could be some possibilities for very low-end branded devices (a flickr camera perhaps?) but with all due respect to jkk, I think he got it wrong this time. What we really need is focus on UMPC development. Lets bring them to the point where they become the full capability, x86-based, instant-on companion device. I don’t want a sideshow, I want the main attraction!

Q1 Ultra. Entry Level at $723

Posted on 26 May 2007

There’s a flurry of activity over at Origamiproject.com as US-based forum members swap hints and tips about buying the Q1 Ultra and using coupons to get further discounts. Buy.com appear to be taking orders for the Q1 Ultra EL for $779.99 with free delivery and someone has managed to redeem a coupon against it and get it for $723 with a further discount on an extended battery for a total of $809 shipped. That’s a fantastic price. This is the 600Mhz Q1 Ultra (I wonder how long it will take someone to work out a ‘fix’ for getting the 600Mhz part to run at 800Mhz) so its going to be interesting to see how Vista fairs.

So does this mean that the Q1b is no longer the best budget UMPC? Last month it was a sub $800 UMPC but the cheapest I can find today is $850 (CDW.com.) Do the people responsible for pricing think that the Q1b is better than the Q1U-EL? Does this say something about the Q1U-EL or will we see the price of the Q1b drop below $700 as soon as the Q1 Ultra EL is available?

Details on the various Q1 Ultra models are in our database. Here’s a comparison page showing all four models.

Kohjinsha SA1F00KS now available in Europe

Posted on 25 May 2007

The Kohjinsha has, apparently, passed all CE and FCC tests now and is on its way to Europe in F00KS (awesome model id!) form. That’s the 40GB touchscreen version. At last there’s a use for the swivel screen!

The SA1 is a great machine. Excellent screen (I have only seen the non-touchscreen version. I’ll try and find out if this version is any less bright) with fantastic 4-hour battery life and fast SD and CF slots. Bluetooth and WiFi are also included. The only things I didn’t like about it were the keyboard (its OK but could be better) and the plastics (a bit cheap.)

PocketPC Solutions, the guys that have the Vega and T770 will supply the Kohjinsha SA1 with Windows Home across Europe for just under 600 pounds plus delivery, putting it in the low pricing category with the T770, R2H and Q1. I’ve also just noticed that they have the excellent MyPower MP3400 power bank (aka. Tekkeon, TabletKiosk.) which I have tested with the Kohjinsha SA1. I got 9 hours of video playback out of it!

The Kohjinsha SA1F00KS in now in the UMPCPortal database.

(Via MyKohjinsha.)