Tag Archive | "customer challenge"

Buyers Guide – CCC 2011 #4 The Mobile IT Manager

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It looks like we’ve hit another 7” requirement with very few solutions. Any more of these requests and i’m going to go out there and make my own ultra mobile PC and sell it to you all!

Mike contacted me to see if he could get some suggestions for an extremely mobile computer. It’s one that needs a full MS office suite and also needs to do duty as a support system in a light aircraft.

Here’s the breakdown.

·As an IT manager I use the MS Office suite, MS Project, MS Visio, and Firefox to do my job.

· I also travel by small plane for work and I need a unit that runs Windows so that I can use my flight navigation software (www.anywheremap.com)

·The yoke (steering wheel of the plane) can only accommodate a unit with an 8.9 inch screen without blocking critical flight instruments – 7 inches provides the best fit

·When I land at the local airport I often use a car GPS for street navigation.

·I don’t use my computers for gaming or video editing, but I do need to have reasonably snappy performance in the office environment.

 

That’s a clear requirement. 7”, Windows and wallop! right into the no-devices zone.

I initially thought about leading with a device that had GPS installed but that can be problematic. In my car there’s a UV filter on the screen and it kills reception. Where reception is critical, a well-positioned GPS puck is going to be the answer. Bluetooth isn’t the most reliable of connectivity mechanisms but once set-up, it does work.

Now that we don’t need the built-in GPS, we’ve widened our scope ….

I’m looking at the Libretto W100/W105 as I did in the last CCC. Mike is in situations where power is likely to be available and in the plane he can use a power brick. Do they have cigarette lighters in small planes though?! As with our previous CCC, there’s also the Q1 Ultra Premium (2nd-hand) and the Viliv S7 convertible. It’s got a faster SSD, good battery life and is available with 3G. It might not have the oomph to run Windows 7 though. The same goes for the Viliv X70 EX

It’s the Windows requirement I want to get right in the suggestion though. A ultra mobile PC running Windows 7 really needs a fast SSD, a 1.6Ghz CPU and, preferably, 2GB RAM.  It’s why I keep thinking about the Libretto W100 but then there’s the screen area to think about on that. It could be too big!

I’ve got three more to offer-up though. (Click images for more info)

HP Slate 500. 8.9” screen. 1.8ghz CPU. SSD.  Includes dual-layer screen. The HP 500 does seem to be satisfying most people that buy it. At 1.8Ghz it’s got just enough more than a 1.5Ghz Z-series Atom, along with an SSD, to make Windows 7 work smoothly. Here are some more thoughts on the HP Slate 500.

Panasonic CF-U1. It’s an expensive rugged 7”-er ($2K entry price) but it’s a seriously good bit of kit.  It only has a 7” screen but it’s a fairly bulky 7” device.

Netbook Navigator Nav 7 (or even Nav 9). I heard from Netbook Navigator yesterday that the Nav 7 is about ready to launch and I’ve just put all the details of this one in the database. Obviously you’ll need to wait for some reviews before committing but it certainly looks compact enough. Unfortunately there’s no docking station or VGA / HDMI out but from your email, Mike, I see you’ve been using a USB-based docking station anyway. This might work for you. I’ll be writing more about the Nav 7 in an upcoming article. [Available here when posted]

So, Mike. What do you think? Will an 8.9” device work for you (HP Slate 500) or are you determined to go for a 7” device? Are you OK without VGA? Do you want laptop-style processing power?

Chime-in with comments people. Mike needs help!

Buyers Guide – CCC2011 #3 Ultra Mobile Developer

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When I read Lukes request for mobile developer help I was impressed. This is Chippys Customer Challenge 2011 #3

I recently went to a local development meetup, and found myself content to use my phone during a ‘Hack Night’ to remotely access my desktop at home to type, and then browse using the phone’s browser. My goal would be to try to find a device that is ultra portable, but that would be a little more easy to do some of my regular development tasks on. It seems like there are a lot of options out there that might fit the bill, but I don’t know if people are really doing much development on more mobile devices rather than just laptops or netbooks.

It takes some patience, good eyes and even a little courage to mobile development work over a remote desktop solution on such a small screen. Luke is now looking for a solution that he can also use as a portable web server. I’m assuming that he also wants to do local development work too. It makes sense as relying on multiple network connections and ISPs to get to your work machine is a little wobbly! CPU and screen requirements can be quite high for software development but there might be a balance that can be done between local input and remote processing.

Luke mentioned Ubuntu which immediately cuts out a whole section of UMPCs from the toplist. Z-series Atom devices have never been well supported by Linux distributions although I know there are some workarounds with Ubuntu. Maybe it’s even baked-in by now. Can anyone comment on that?

Here’s what I’m thinking would suit Luke:

5-7” screen on X86 architecture at under 800gm. At least two USB ports and a VGA port. Local storage requirements relatively low. Touchscreen not really required. Tablet format OK with an external USB or BT keyboard.

ASUS-X101-2The 5-7” category X86 category is non-existent right now and for value-for money, could you really beat something like the 900gm Asus Eee PC X101 with Meego for 170 Euro? It makes decisions really really hard.  Mobility is the driver here though so where do we go with this? The good old, possibly beast ultra mobile PC ever, Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium. If you can find it, go for it Luke!

Other options you might consider are some of the newer, lightweight tablets. The AMD-based MSI Windpad 110 or Iconia Tab W500 for example. 10”, yes, but well under 1KG.

Also keep an eye on new Oaktrail models running Meego. That might happen in the fourth quarter and would indicate a stable status for Linux on the Z-series CPUs. It’s a Fedora-based solution but I’m sure the GPU support will find it’s way over to other distro’s soon.

W100-1Luke is not the only one looking at ultra-mobile Linux. I know a few other people that are struggling with this too. If you wait until the end of September we should have some more information on the dual-core Cedar-Trail devices. Tablets based on these should be lighter and smaller than the Pine-Trail equivalents like the Gigabyte S1080, a N570-based device at 900gm for about 550 Euro here. Having said that, Oaktrail devices like the Viewpad 10 Pro, Lenovo Ideapad P1 and Fujitsu Q550 (which I see in Germany for just over 600 Euro now) are worth looking at if weight and battery life is more important. With both of these solutions though you’re looking at Power-VR graphics. I worry about Linux support for that.

There’s one other device you might consider. The Toshiba Libretto W100. Is the dual-screen device based on a dual-core U5400 CPU. It’s got standard Intel graphics and should work well as a web server and even for compiling due to its relatively powerful CPU. It can be noisy, warm and, lets be honest, very short on battery life (2hrs) but it’s actually the only ‘current’, small-form-factor ultra mobile PC on the market that isn’t running a Z-series CPU. Price: Around 700 Euros with UMTS (I’m looking at a European price here.) I wouldn’t mind one of these myself for a bit of mobile 480p video editing and hotel work.

As for older devices, the previously mentioned Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium is the one to keep an eye out for.  It’s still holding it’s own thanks to some fantastic engineering from Samsung. There are a few VIA-C7-based devices out there too. They’re cheap and not too powerful (think low-end single-core Atom) and can be a little on the warm side but at least Linux support would be easy.

My choice? If I just wanted a lightweight Linux device for light duties, I’d probably be looking at the Asus Eee PC X101. 920gm, basic specs, small SSD storage and an unbeatable price of 169 Euro here in Europe.

Anyone out there already doing mobile development work on Linux with a UMPC? Let’s hear your opinion.

Buyers Guide – CCC2011 #2 Real Pocket PC

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OQO, Everun, Viliv. You guys knew there was a desire out there for a true Pocket PC but alas, it was too small for you to survive on. So what do we do now?

A customer came to me last week and asked about the Benq S6. Remember that one? We started writing about it in Jan 2008 and by mid 2009, there wasn’t much to be heard from it anymore. A version with XP was selling for a bargain basement price in Italy, if I recall correctly, but that was it.

So what if you want a 5” screen PC today?

Those of you who might be asking ‘why not go Android’ need to know that this customer has his reasons. There are hundreds more too. Compatibility, flexibility, software, USB, server, etc etc etc.  This customer knows he won’t get 10hrs battery life; the ‘PC’ part is more important. Here’s a summary of what I got from the customer, Maher, who is located in Canada.

Let’s be honest now though, there aren’t any mainstream choice today. What you’ll find is ex-stock although immediately I want to say ‘Viliv S5.’ It was a peach of a device and worth stretching your budget for. If a $300 to $350 price point is strict though, you’re going to have to look around on Ebay or other 2nd-hand sales sites.

Try and stick with XP rather than a Moblin Linux build if you want to retain full flexibility.

So what if you can get hold of a BenQ S6 with 3G and Windows XP for under $350? The battery life isn’t good, I can tell you that much and with the 800Mhz Atom, the performance will be less than some of the new tablets. The Dell Streak 5, for example, is probably more powerful. I’m reluctant to say ‘go for it’ on the Benq S6.

Look for these in the secondhand market:

As for a new purchase, I took a look at the MiPC referenced above. It’s also a few years old but I have to admit, it’s well-stocked with ports and therefore, flexibility. You’ll have to re-install Windows XP to get your required language but it shouldn’t be too difficult. The VIA C7 at 1Ghz is a little more powerful than Atom at 800Mhz but battery life could be worse. Don’t expect much more than 2.5hrs under use. It’s likely to get warm too. I recall the C7-based Wibrain B1 and the Q1b that I had. Both were usable devices. If the build quality is OK on the MiPC and if it includes a mouse pointer on the frame (always a great feature for a WIndows tablet) it could be worth it.

But for the ultimate pocket PC,  don’t forget the Viliv S5. Keep looking on Ebay and in forums! Anyone here want to sell theirs?

Buyers Guide – CCC2011 #1 Mixed Mobile Usage with The Full Internet Experience

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cccJakub contacted me yesterday via the CCC email account with the first of the CCC2011 challenges. It’s a very typical one to start off with and will probably fit many peoples requirements too so lets start with the first of our tailored buyers guides for mobile computing solutions.

Requirements.

Via a number of emails we’ve determined that Jakub would like a device that could be kept in a bag all the time. It would be used occasionally for work and personal tasks, needs 3G and importantly, needs to be able to access the full internet experience with no need for zooming and panning. A battery that can last 2 days without charging on light usage is also important. I’m interpreting the ‘bag’ requirement as something between 7 and 10 inches, 500-1300gm.

Nice-to-have’s include car navigation, sub $500 cost, ability to handle printers and cameras and a docking station. Jakub also appears to be a photography fan and wants to use the device for photo previewing and basic editing. SD card slot, USB host and screen could be important

In the correspondence we’ve had over the last two days, one line resonated with me: “full internet experience is a must. I don’t like limitations, they always appears at worst moment, when i must do something.” I was lying on the couch yesterday with the Viliv N5 thinking exactly the same thing as my Galaxy Tab failed to offer me full web experience. Not only is plugin support a problem but the ability to access full versions of websites, reliable rendering, javascript input fields and of-course, the unsolved problem of mouse-over on web-page menus.

Narrowing the platform choices.

We’ve got a problem on hour hands here. Its the common trade-off between full internet experience which is still only available on the X86 platforms using desktop browsers, and long standby life. However, we’ve got a loophole to get through because Jakub is likely to be happy with quick return from standby as opposed to always-on. Immediately I’m thinking of the latest Samsung netbooks with their quick start and long standby support. With a full SD card slot it helps for photography and they have great screens.  If the Toshiba AC100 with 3G had been fitted with a quality software build that might also be a solution although it’s available for under 200 Euros with 3G so might be worth a test.

Based on the web requirement though, I’m going to rule out the rest of the Android tablets and smartphones. That’s unfortunate because the Galaxy Tab would have been high on the list. The iPad too. The original 3G+16GB version is available for under 500 Euros and at Argos in the UK right now, it’s only 418 Euros. My feeling is that you’ll still hit issues with websites but that’s a great price for a great mobile computing device and you’ll certainly have fun with it.

The docking station requirement is a good one. There isn’t another accessory that improves the range of usage of a tablet more than a dock and since my first ultra mobile PC in 2006 I’ve been a fan. The MSI Windpad 110W might be a device to check out. It’s a tablet but it’s got an important feature – mouse pad. That improves Windows/Tablet usability a lot. Pre-order prices for the 3G versions are heading towards 600 Euro, slightly above the price range but with the included GPS (according to my specifications) it would be possible to add something like Mapfactor Navigator 11 or even their free product. The dock is going to add to the price though but might be something for a later date. The Acer Iconia Tab W500 is another one to consider in that vein but as far as i’m aware, it doesn’t have that important mouse pointer/pad. If you want a high-end Atom tablet at under 900gm, look at the Gigabyte S1080 with N570, 2GB RAM, USB 3.0, 3G and keyboard case. It’s expensive though!

Isn’t it a shame that the HTC Shift didn’t get an update. For people that just want the occasional-use PC along with portability and an always-on operating system, you’ve got the best of both worlds. Alas, HTC, along with many others are busy serving the competitive smartphone, superphone and tablet PC space. An updated Nokia Booklet 3G could have been interesting too. If you see an original for sale for under 400 Euro, do check it out though as it’s a unique netbook. (GPS, weight, battery life.)

On the netbook choices though, there’s a bargain to be had in the Samsung N150 Eom 3G. It doesn’t have the ‘Fast Start’ option unfortunately but it’s a solid, well priced 3G netbook at well under 400 Euros and in some cases, under 350 Euros. Weight 1.25KG

Finally, I’m going to call out the Viewsonic Viewpad Pro. It’s coming soon and it’s going to be one of the first Oaktrail devices in Europe with 3G for under 700 Euros. 650 Euros is the street price right now but with SSD, 3G, 2GB of RAM, 870gm weight and the Intel Oaktrail platform, it could return some excellent battery life, even in always-on mode.

Top 5 Choices

Click on images for more information.

Your reliable, good value choice is going to be the Samsung N150 Eom 3G (Eom is the name in Germany, it could vary in other EU countries.) At 350 Euros for a 3G netbook, it will cover all your angles apart from navigation.

If you fancy waiting a bit for a modular solution, do so for the MSI Windpad 110W. With 3G, GPS, the mouse pointer and the dock, it could be one of the most flexible, general use tablet PCs around. Don’t forget it has Windows Home Premium, 2GB of RAM and a nice 1080p capability. 2 years ago, something like this would have cost 1200 Euro! No full SD card slot. No full reviews yet. Above budget.

A low-cost choice and Android experience would be the Toshiba AC100 with 3G which can be picked up dirt cheap. It’s not business quality but there are marketplace hacks out there that could be fun to test out. The web experience won’t be as good as on the Windows-based devices here. No GPS. Test well before buying!

Another one to check out in the next few months would be the Viewsonic Viewpad 10 Pro. It should have better battery life than the Windpad 110W but doesn’t provide as much processing power. For occasional use it might be fine. No full reviews available yet. Above budget.

Long-shot choice. I haven’t mentioned this yet because there’s no indication that it’s coming to the market but keep a close eye (and Google search for the VX70S-001. What is it? It’s the product code for the new Viliv X70 Slate with Oaktrail. Price is highly likely to be above 500 Euros but with SSD, GPS, long standby and the full internet experience, it’s just what you and many others are looking for. No 3G. No reviews. No idea when and for how much it’s coming.

Also look at the original iPad with 3G, the Gigabyte S1080 (high-end Atom-based spec) and Acer Iconia Tab W500 and keep an eye out for cheap and sales of the Nokia Booklet 3G. There’s promise in a few 7″ Intel Oaktrail tablet prototypes (e.g. the X70 Slate, ECS 7″ Tablet) we’ve seen at shows buy as yet, none have reached the market. They could be worth waiting for though.

And finally, look in the comments below. One of the great things about this website, even if I do say so myself, is the quality of the commenters.

Keep those requests coming via the CCC2011 email address.

Chippy’s Customer Challenge 2011

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cccIn 2008 I started a series of posts that took your requirements and returned some thoughts and a shortlists of products that you should consider buying to satisfy those requirements. It was an excellent way to learn about new usage models for me and, I hope, an interesting read for you.

As the news tails-off during the summer I intend to re-start the ‘customer challenge’ series again. You send your requirements and usage scenarios to me and I’ll analyze them and give you a recommendation list and some thoughts. I’m sure we’ll have a healthy discussion in the comments too!

All you do is send an email to ccc2011@umpcportal.com,  and we’ll take it from there. I’ll probably be doing one per day and can’t guarantee that I’ll get round to your request but if I do, don’t forget to let us know how it works out.

Donations are, as always, welcome through the donations page.

CCC 20-21

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The requests for help keep coming in faster than I can deal with them so whatever I do now, some people are going to be sensing emails that go unanswered. I’m sorry! The only thing I can say is that you should try the forum where there are a bunch of knowledgeable people happy to answer questions. In the meantime, I’ll try and plod through as many as I can.

CCC 20. John.

I’m looking at a $300-450 USD price range. Mini-notebook form factor. It will spend most of its time on my lap (60%), some time on desks/tables (30%) and occasionally in my hand (10%). Mostly looking to use it for editing documents, web browsing, watching an occasional video, taking notes in class, instant messaging, and email. Battery life needs to be pretty good. I’m guessing maybe 4+ hours. Needs to have solid wifi connectivity. Touchscreen would be cool, but I doubt it would fit in my price range. I’m not sure whether or not I should get SSD or just get a HDD and leave options for 2.5 SSD upgrade down the road.

This should be fairly easy. Editing documents + 4hrs + solid wifi = Eee PC 1000 [three versions shown here.] The 1000 has a great keyboard and good battery life, just as the MSI Wind does but the wifi module is slightly better on the 1000H. Both can be bought with SSD, HDD, Linux and XP variations but if video if in your mix, you’ll want to be storing a clutch of videos on an HDD. For some commentary on the finer differences between the MSI Wind and the 1000H, see these two great post by Brad Linder and Kevin Tofel.

CCC 21 below…

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CCC Week. Challenges 18-19

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Its late on Thursday and I’ve got about 24 hours to go to get through another 20 Chippy’s Customer Challenge requests! There’s no way I’m going to achieve that so I’ll either carry on next week or start to incorporate them into the Ultra Mobile Podcast. I don’t want any of you to go without at least a few lines of input from me and some thoughts from the readers.

CCC 18. Vikenty

Vikenty has a two-part request for a MID and a small mobile phone. Usage: Browser, easy document editing, IP-video-phone, video playback in 350g or less with WiMax…….SCREEEEECH!

s5hand I need to stop right there because currently there is only one pocketable device with WiMax and that’s the Nokia N810 Wimax. Vikenty asked for GPS (check), WebCam (check), IP-phone (check)and Windows XP (Bzzzt!) All is not lost though because a lot of the MIDs will be modular. For example, the Viliv S5 might come with GPS and WiMax in certain markets (I’m told.) The problem is that it doesn’t have a keyboard. In fact, trying to put ‘easy document editing’ and ‘350g or less’ in a single device is going to be very difficult. Vikenty, I don’t think there’s anything I can recommend to you at this stage. To get the keyboard in a device that weight is going to be an engineering challenge for at least another 12 months and even then, XP might not be available anymore. The best I can recommend is that you keep an eye on the Viliv S5 and look for a small foldable keyboard to go with it. As for the mobile phone, it really depends on what you want to do with it. I’m a big fan of the Nokia N-series because of their outstanding ability to create images and video but if that’s not your thing then maybe a small, basic feature phone? I’m afraid I’ll have to pass on the phone choice. Sorry!

CCC 19. Andrew

Looking to replace a Powerbook with a mini notebook…My old Powerbook G4 12in is still good to use, but a smaller and lighter machine would be nice.  Convertible but rugged touchscreen device with ‘cool and quiet’ features and a 9in screen that provides 1024×768 or greater resolution to run Firefox, Office and development apps. 4 hours battery life, Linux friendly chipset. Weight: 1KG. Price: Under 600 pounds.

It doesn’t get any easier does it ;-) There’s only three devices that I can think of here. The Gigabyte M912X, the Kohjinsha SX3 and the end-of-line Fujitsu P1610. Unfortunately the M912V isn’t the coolest kid on the block and at 1.35KG with a 3hr, 3-cell battery, it’s not going to get close to the 1KG mark. Fortunately the P1610  could fit the bill. I’m seeing it in Europe for about 750 Euros (just under the 600 pounds mark) but I haven’t seen it in the UK for that price yet which means having to buy from somewhere like Germany and replace the OS and keyboard. Not so easy! Keep an eye out for offers in the UK as this gets cleared to make way for the P1620 and P1630. Don’t worry about it being ‘old’ because its still got great specs compared to today’s netbooks. 1280×800 screen. Intel (Linux friendly!) Core Solo with 945 chipset and 60GB drive. Watch out for memory upgrade costs and don’t forget to look for the extended battery that you’ll need to reach 4 hours. As for the SX3, you might get lucky and find an import for around 600 pounds but you’ll definitely need the extended battery. It runs Vista in a rather unimpressive fashion but there’s a possibility in the next few months that an XP downgrade is achievable with new drivers but its not Linux friendly right now (although Ubuntu might be building Poulsbo support into their April ’09 Ubuntu-Mobile release.)

You’ve highlighted a bit of a dark spot in the Ultra Mobile product spectrum here Andrew because I’ve been trying to think of a non touchscreen device that fits your bill. Does anyone know of a non touchscreen 8.9" device that’s ‘cool and quiet’ with a hi-res screen? The HP2133 has the screen but it isn’t cool and quiet from what I’ve read. Maybe Andrew should look to Ultra Portable devices with bigger screens?

CCC Week. Challenges 16-17

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I’ve been trying to work out what the most popular device would be to serve all the CCC requests I’ve had but it’s really hard. If I was an OEM designing a UMPC, MID or Notebook I’d be pushed to come up with a design that would suit even 30% of the people wanting a solution.  Take these two for example…

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CCC Week. Challenges 13-15

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If there’s one thing that’s clear, its that peoples ideal devices and ideal scenarios differ wildly. From the CarPC to the mobile office through sofa-surfer and travelers companion.  Its encouraging to see people really focusing on their requirements though because this is the first thing you need to get clear before you buy a UMPC. Here’s three more customer challenges after the ‘is that a ultra mobile PC in your pocket’ images…

 IMG_4553 IMG_4552 IMG_4554 IMG_4556 IMG_4555 IMG_4558
2", 4", 4.8", 4.8" (in hand,) 7" and…

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CCC Week. Challenges 10-12

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We continue with the Q&A session with a challenge from A Nonymous (!)

CCC 10. A Nonymous.

Mr N is looking for a mini notebook or convertible tablet as an ‘all-round replacement’ capable of serious document reviewing, playing CDs/DVDs. Mr Nonymous sums-up by saying it should be a ‘home office which can be carried on the road.’ Price range, 600 – 1200 (US dollars assumed)

U2E Wow! You don’t ask for much do you Mr N. I assume you want it all-in one so we’re basically looking at a small laptop here with a 10" minimum screen. 10" is not only a comfortable screen size at 1024×600 (good enough for most work) but it allows the design to include a comfortable sized keyboard. I’m sorry to say that there’s really nothing in the ultra mobile PC or netbook range (10", sub $1000, sub 1.5KG) that’s going to satisfy you but if we reach outside the pricing bracket bracket, we’ll find devices from Panasonic and Sony that include DVD writers. If the LG C1 was cheaper and readily available, I’d recommend it as it’s a peach of a 10" pro-mobile device. The ASUS U2E is similar though and prices have dropped right down in the last 3 months. I should also mention the Kohjinsha SX3 which has an 8.9" screen but it lacks processing power. If you can bring yourself to separate the DVD player out to a USB device then you open the door to some possibilities but I’m not going to recommend the Atom platform for Vista-office-on-the-road work. Its possible but not ideal and in most cases you’ll have to upgrade memory.  Keep an eye out for Flybook V5 price reductions though. Keyboard and screen are slightly smaller but you’ll get a hi-res convertible touchscreen, 1.8mbps HSDPA modem, 2G RAM, fingerprint reader and lovely styling. I’m hearing rumors that prices will get cut on these soon.

CCC 11. Suresh

I’m looking for a ultra mobile PC to install in my new Jaguar XKR Convertible! Requirements are: Screen size between 5 and 9 inches, finger touch screen, Vista compatibility (for running Vista Media Center,) Convertible (i.e. hide keyboard when in slate mode). The device will run Vista Media Center, Browser and GPS based navigation. Needs to have a powered USB port to connect large hard drive with all my music.

OK, apart from giving me too much info about the car (!) this looks like a fun project although I’ll say up-front that running an desktop OS in a car is not the safest thing to be doing. I’ve done it myself but it’s dangerous so make sure you look at software like Centrafuse and read the MP3car.com forums before you really decide to go the desktop-software route. If you’re looking at Media Center under Vista, you’re going to need graphics power. I’ve never really used a ultra mobile PC that’s worked smoothly with Vista Media Center although something like the Flybook V5 (there it is again) with its discreet graphics solution will probably work well. I’d recommend you look at the Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium too though. Although it doesn’t have the graphics power of the Flybook, its got great laptop-class CPU power that will certainly help to provide a smooth UI experience. You can get mounting kits for it too and the bright soft-touch screen and tablet form factor will work very well in a car.

CCC 12. Will

Will’s going travelling; For a year! I don’t want to lug around a laptop, however, I intend to do some writing, blogging online, a bit of photo work etc. while I’m seeing the world. I enjoy playing games and things, but realistically aren’t fussed on that. So if you could help me out on a recommended ultra mobile PC that would be great.

This question came up with my Sister just last week. She’s planning a 6-month tour and I told her she needed a PC to blog and communicate with. In the end though, we decided it would never make it back as the risk of theft was too high. So, when travelling, make sure you take regular backups Will! If this was me, I’d be looking at something at under 800gm. Preferably under 600gm. I’d make sure it didn’t have many moving parts too so that means SSD and fixed-hinge (tablet is good but you risk breaking the screen.) It would need a lot of battery life, XP (for stability) and a minimum 7" screen. The new Raon Digital Everun S16S (available Nov) could be right up your street although its an unknown quantity in terms of build quality. You’ll have to upgrade it to XP too but that should be easy. The 7" screen and surprisingly good keyboard is enough for hour-long tabletop sessions and it’s tiny enough to pack away almost anywhere. Get a good case for it though. It’s got an SDHC card slot (for a handful of SDHC cards from your camera or for backup) and Raon do a nice external charger solution. Buy the charger and a spare battery and you’re able to charge one battery while you use the other. Spare battery is a must though as the battery life is only around 2.5hrs. Also note that the Everun takes a long time to charge, presumably because it’s got a huge single-cell battery. I’ve heard that Raon will be building in an external antenna connector too so if it’s true, you’ll be able to get a strong external antenna for fringe areas. Note that the power adaptor is big so you’ll have to look for an alternative solution there.

If the size and unknown build quality of the Everun puts you off, I’d have to say, Eee PC 901 XP (With 12GB SSD.) Its well-built, has superb battery life, has a good track record so far, is cheap and is easy to work with. Its about 40% heavier than the Raon Digital Everun but at 1.2kg’s its not exactly huge. The bigger screen will be easier to work with over longer periods.

CCC Week. Challenges 7-9

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Thanks to you all for the 30+ requests for buying advice I had over the weekend. It’s more requests than I expected so I may not get through them all but I’m planning on calling up JKK at the end of the week and asking him to do a customer challenge podcast to cover requests that I wasn’t able to write about this week. Lets get straight into it now though with the first 3 requests.

lotsofumpcs

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Free buying advice in ‘Chippy’s Customer Challenge’ Week.

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The customer challenges have always been fun to do. A challenge for me, good to talk about in the comments and usually, good feedback from the potential customer but it’s been a while since I’ve been able to do it due to other commitments. I’m also having to turn email requests away too which I feel really bad about so in order to redress the balance, I’m going to dedicate a lot of time to it next week and see how many customer challenges I can get through. Its going to be Chippy’s Customer Challenge Week.

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If you’re wondering what ultra mobile, netbook or MID device fits your needs then simply contact me and include the following information:

  • Price range
  • Form factor (MID, mini notebook, tablet)
  • Usage scenarios (E.g. Table, car, multi-use)
  • Top three applications (e.g. browser, office)

Think also about the following features. 3G, touchscreen, battery life, specialist port requirements, performance.

Starting from next Monday, I’ll pick interesting challenges from the list and work my way through as many as I can and try and provide a Top-3 shortlist for each request. All you need to do is send your requirements, keep an eye out for the article and the interesting discussion that always results from the proposals.