Wikipedia UMPC page and Microsoft’s UMPC/ULCPC definition

Posted on 15 May 2008 by

I suppose as someone who is somewhat well versed in the ultra mobile PC area, I should have taken a look at the Wikipedia page for UMPCs, but I’ll be honest I hadn’t until a few days ago. I found something rather surprising whwikipedia umpc warningen I took a look at the page and it made me chuckle a bit.

As you can see in the image above, there are several warnings about the article placed at the top of the page. The first one states:

This article or section appears to contradict itself. Please help fix this problem.

I’ve never seen this warning on a Wikipedia article before and feel like this really says something important about the current state of UMPCs and the ultra mobile PC definition. Back in the early days, Microsoft created their own definition of a new class of PC which went by the name ‘Origami’. This is rather confusing because Origami turned into the touch screen software developed by Microsoft, and stopped being used as a term to define the group of devices. ultra mobile PC became the de facto term, partly because OEMs were not creating machines that fit Microsoft’s definition of an ‘Origami’ device. For example, the VAIO UX line which featured a 1024×600 resolution screen, was not considered by Microsoft to be a ultra mobile PC because it’s screen resolution was higher than the 800×480 that Microsoft had specified, even though it was smaller than many of the other UMPCs. For this reason, the Origami touchscreen software did not come included on the VAIO UX series of UMPCs.

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Now news has spread that Microsoft is allowing Ultra Low Cost PC OEMs to install XP on ULCPCs at a discounted price. But again Microsoft is taking it upon themselves to try to define what a ULCPC is, and they are telling OEMs that a ULCPC cannot have a touchscreen, or they will not receive any discounts for putting XP on their computers like a true (according to MS) ULCPC OEM would. It makes sense that MS would make incentives for ULCPC makers to keep prices of the hardware down, but why limit it to a specific piece of hardware and not a price. What happens when it can be cost effective for a ULCPC OEM to include a touchscreen on one of their computers? Even though the hardware may be cheap enough to keep the computer in the ULCPC price range, they would forgo the touchscreen so they can install XP as the base OS at a discounted price.

Does anyone notice a pattern here? Imagine the touchscreen of a computer as the 1024×600 screen of the VAIO UX. Now also imagine the XP discount offered to OEMs as the Origami software. Even though a ULCPC might meet price and all other requirements, just because it includes a touchscreen, it will not be afforded the same XP discount from MS, just as the VAIO UX didn’t include the Origami software because it didn’t fit Microsoft’s limiting definition of a UMPC.

Well a bit of a tangent there, but what I am trying to get at is that Microsoft needs to realize that setting hardware limits to classes of devices is counterproductive. I don’t quite see what Microsoft hopes to accomplish by trying to issue a set list of specifications that ‘make’ a UMPC, a UMPC. In the past the only thing this has done is limited certain devices from receiving benefits, blurred the definition of UMPCs, confused many people, and potentially scared away would-be ultra mobile PC users.

The community needs to reclaim control using open sources such as Wikipedia. So what do you say we all take a stroll over in that direction and clean the page up to reflect our views as a community, and to help others who may be trying to learn about ultra mobile PC products.

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13 Comments For This Post

  1. says:

    hmm, i think i have run into that contradiction warning one or more times before. but yes, its quite telling given the context…

  2. jkkmobile says:

    uuh.. it looked a bit … not good..

    Do we know anyone who knows about umpcs and can write?

  3. lschiedel says:

    I think this (MS limits on ULCPC) is actually MS usual attempts to strong-arm the industry using Windows license rebates.
    They are intentionally CRIPPLING this class of machines (bundled with XP) to ensure it does not compete with their Vista sales.
    They want all touch screen machines to come with Vista. If one touch screen machine was available with the lower cost and lower resource requirement XP, then it would pressure other manufacturers to put out a competing XP model too or lose sales.
    Hasn’t MS been dinged for this kind of behavior before? I bet they won’t try this in Europe or the EU will (rightly) fine them again.

  4. tk4killa says:

    “This article or section appears to contradict itself. Please help fix this problem.”
    This sounds like a cry for help.
    jkk mobile you know alot about UMPCs.

  5. jkkmobile says:

    tk4killa: I suk at writing.. would take a year.. thats why i do vids

  6. zak says:

    err , yeah.. somebody should fix it. ( walks away)

  7. mrknowitall says:

    Microsoft is trying to limit the adoption rate of any device that are remotely considered mobile (mini laptops, MID type devices) simply because these products don’t use Windows Mobile. Microsoft’s mobile device strategy was made public a few weeks ago and its WIN MOBILE. They simply don’t care even if there is are better platforms suited for mobile devices. Microsoft can afford to dictate. In my opinion this strategy will end up the same way as their UMPC strategy ended up…

  8. zak says:

    im gonna have a go, but i will prob fuk it up.

  9. zak says:

    i tried and failed.. next..

  10. TK4KILLA says:

    Ben if you will take the first step towards cleaning up the UMPC page, i am down.
    If we work together, we can fix it.
    But do you want edit the whole page or some sections?

  11. Benz145 says:

    Hey TK,

    I wish I had the time to do a total overhaul of that page right now but I really don’t. I was hoping people would be able to update individual sections to improve the overall understanding of what a UMPC is. The groundwork is there, but a lot of it talks about Microsofts UMPC vision and doesn’t reflect the true nature of the machines we know today.

  12. admin says:

    I am updating the umpc buyers guide right now and it contains a detailed overview. Would be happy to donate that part of the article to anyone that wants to re-edit the wiki page.

  13. Al says:

    MS should stick to their business of creating operating systems. That OS focus should be making a trouble free OS that works on many variations of hardware sizes and not be so demanding on the power of the computer.

    MS has no clue about the mainstream at all. They created a spec of 7″ slates and look what happened after over a year with many brands of product? no demand and a weak 350k sales in all of 2007. A full blown desktop OS is what people want but in a functional jacket size form factor. What good is full windows without a keyboard? and if it is not small enough to fit in a jacket most would just opt for a subnotebook, etc. I think MS has made a huge blunder especially when the technology is so powerful to make a the first true pocket laptop but it still has yet to be created and that is due to Microsoft getting into the hardware side and influencing the market the wrong way.

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