I’ve talked about the ‘Carrypad concept device’ before. It’s my ideal ultra mobile PC device specification that started the ball rolling with the Journal in Feb 2006, before the MS ultra mobile PC was launched. The details got a bit lost in the journal archives underneath all the other ultra mobile PC news so here’s a re-post and summary of the Carrypad concept device.(Feb 2006. Specifications unedited)
Carrypad concept hardware
The ideal UMPC’s indentifying features are:
- Advanded-intermediate output – (5″-7″ screen, min 800×480, total size – DVD cover.)
- Advanced-intermediate input – (mini qwerty keyboard)
It is the parent of the smartphone (and a potential user of the smartphone long-range data capabilities.) It is the offspring and partner of the pc.
It performs video well (min 320×240, 24fps, 1000kbps, full screen – Approx 620mhz advanced processor (Xscale seems well suited at this stage)
It needs to be a standalone device. If you don’t have your phone with you (unlikely) or your phone’s battery is flat, you need many of the functions of the smartphone (except long-range radio services like GSM, GPRS, UMTS)
The camera doesn’t fit here but a videoconferencing camera would.
Storage should be a step up from the mobile. Minimum 10GB I would say as it needs to be a media playback device and possibly a photo upload and basic editing tool.Wifi is a must here as its target locations would all potentially contain wifi as the primary broadband connectivity option.
Bluetooth is a must as it would be use to communicate with a number of local devices (headphones, data gateways, printers etc.)
Battery longevity is also a must here although we’re not concerned with 5+ hours. More the 2-3 hours mark.
Docking/Wall mounting is needed for the cool-factor in the lounge/bedroom.
Price – above high-level pocket pc and below mid-level laptops. Puts it at the 800 Euro mark at the moment but when the pocket pc market crashes, they will drop into the 400-600 range.
Normal wired connectivity options will include USB2.0, SPDIF out, Headphones. mic in and SDIO.Consumer IR should provide device control capability.I’m not sure about GPS but given that this device could be a CE or S60 operating system, a GPS device would make good sense.I dont see a Linux-based system needing a GPS. Navigation data will never be public domain.
Touch-screen or programmable touch-pad areas are needed for in-car and photo editing.
Carrypad concept software
Software starts at the operating system.
On offer we have the following:
Symbian S60 and S90MS Win CE and Tablet PC.Linux
I have a feeling that S60 and S90 spec aren’t going to support the screen requirements and considering the processors we have at hand (Basically the Xscale, Epia, Transmeta bracket) we’re going to be mainly looking at WinCE and Linux. Even Nokia themselves used linux in their 770 – a carrypad type device.
Apart from GPS navigation on Linux, they both look like having similar capabilities.
Linux has the advantage of a mass of developers, WinCE has the advantage of money and access to processor designs and specifications.
My first conclusion is that if Xscale is the most suited processor (considering power requirements) then WinCE is going to have the performance advantage because of MS-Intel relationships. With Xscale/WinCE, the USB and Bluetooth support could also be more stable.
Some users are going to want to use their Digital Rights Managed media too and there again, you have to be looking at MS.
Linux however could keep the cost down. With no licensing costs, more money can be spent on hardware. Its also arguable that there’s a wider range of software for the user too.
One family of operating system I haven’t mentioned yet is Apple. These guys could be extremely well positioned to make a Carrypad PC. They have access to Intel processors now and building a lounge product could fit very well into their portfolio. Given their current marketing and brand power, they could also reach the economies of scale to push multi-million Xscale processor based carrypads out the door at the right price.
- 5-7″ 800×640 Touch Screen
- Detachable Mini Keyboard
- Wifi, BT2.0, SD slot, USB2.0
- 600mhz advanced processor
- 3 hour battery
- Min 10GB storage
- Reduced OS
Update: Sept 2007.
Having used built-in 3G wireless data in 2007 i’m now convinved that WiFi alone isn’t good enough. Some form of 3G wireless data connectivity needs to be added to the spec.
In adition to that, i’ve been finding that the lower end of the screen size range is good enough and enables far more mobility.