UMPC – Stands For Ultra Mobile PC

    July 10, 2006

For the last 10 years we have had an ever increasing choice of portable electronic devices to help make communication and collaboration an easier task.

Cell Phones now do more than just make calls, small hand held devices called PDA’s enable you to stay connected with work whilst on the road.

Need to check an email or maybe a spreadsheet? No problem.

So now meet a new class of mobile device with the portability of a PDA but the functionality of a laptop.

Meet the UMPC or Ultra Mobile PC as it is otherwise known.

Originally called “Project Origami” by Microsoft the first devices started to ship from Hardware manufactures, like Samsung and Sony, in May 2006.

You can view the original Microsoft television “teaser” here.

Let’s take the Samsung Q1 as an example.

It weighs around 780g and runs a 900MHz ULV Celeron M Processor with 512Mb RAM. It has a standard 7 inch 800 x 480 screen, which is bigger than the popular Sony Playstation Portable, and is powered by a more than reasonable Intel i915 GMS graphic chipset.

Now onto the important topic of connectivity. Wireless connectivity is provided by 802.11g and Bluetooth, whilst fixed connectivity is in the form of 2 x USB 2.0 ports, LAN port, Compact Flash II slot and a VGA-out.

The built-in stereo speakers work well and the 40GB hard drive provides ample space whilst away from home or the office.

All this hardware is useless without an operating system and that is where the Windows XP Tablet edition 2005 comes in. But it does not stop there…

The key element of the UMPC is the Touch Pack. This sits on top of the operating system and allows the UMPC screen to be used as a touch style screen as there is no keyboard (although one can be purchased and plugged in if required.)

If you are familiar with using a PDA you will be used to using handwriting recognition technology and this is available in the UMPC. However, the touch pack interface allows for a new feature. Called the Dial key it is software especially written for the UMPC that allows you to use your thumbs on a touch screen keyboard that displays in the corner of this handheld device.

Overall the UMPC is a great concept and hopefully just as useful in reality.

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Marc Liron is a Digital Media Evangelist living in the UK. He also holds the Microsoft MVP status and maintains a number of technology related websites. More at