Thursday, April 19, 2007

i'm a umpc convert...

From a recent post I made at about an article they wrote on "Why You'll Never Buy a UMPC":

granted, i am a technophile but i converted to the umpc for a couple reasons.first, i want to simplify my life. i used to have a desktop pc. i got rid of it for a laptop. the laptop performed all the tasks i needed but gave me the ability to transport my computing needs when and where i desired. the laptop was a transportable desktop. granted, the laptop didn't have the power and expandability of a desktop but the ability to move from location to lcoation trumped those benefits of a dedicated desktop. for gameplaying, i purchased an xbox 360 and suddenly there really was no need for a desktop. i replaced my vaio latop recently for a samsung q1p and have not regretted it. the samsung q1p while not as powerful as my laptop does meet at my daily computing needs just fine and does it in a smaller, more mobile package. i have the q1p connected to my 20in sony lcd monitor. i use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and so i have basically a desktop system in a package the size of a paperback. when i need to go to a client's office, i have pop the umpc into its leather case and go. 5 seconds. i now have a laptop as the leather organizer case has an integrated keyboard. at the client, i pop the q1p out of the organizer and take it into meetings. i take handwritten notes quickly and efficiently. when i get back to my desk at the client's office, i put the q1p back into the organizer case and use it as a laptop. so the q1p has now simplified my life by acting as my desktop, laptop and ultra mobile pen based computer. all in a smaller and lighter package.

second (and i realize this is going to sound strange but it's important to me) i am on a quest to eliminate noise from my computing experience. i hate noise that eminates from technology. i work at my home office and it's quite peaceful and quiet. i spend a lot of time on my computer. the fan noise from a desktop annoys me to no end. it's constant hum continually demands attention and let's you know "hey! i'm a computer and am comsuming lots of power. so much in fact that i need this enormous fan to cool down my cpu!". i researched a lot of laptops and settled on a sony vaio b/c it had dual cores that ran cooler and a smart power management system that controlled (and allowed the user to control) the fan speed. this greatly cut down on the ambient noise of computing. however... when the fan did kick on it could be noisey. my umpc is virtually silent all the time. when the fan does kick on it is brief and quiet and doesn't remind me that my electric meter is spinning out of control.

and that brings me to my third point (which is also questionable and will cause you to roll your eyes): power consumption and the environment. i want to do whatever i can to reduce my carbon signature on the environment. i drive a hybrid, buy only the highest rated energy star appliances and have switched all my light bulbs out for fluorenscent bulbs. an extreme, i know. in any case the power footprint of a umpc is something like an order or two or three *magnitude* difference in power requirements. my umpc has a thermal rating of something like 5 watts of power. my desktop pc had a tdp of something like 95 watts. that's a big difference that was actually reflected in my power bill which dropped significantly after i replaced my desktop pc. i like the fact that i'm using technology that has significantly reduce my daily power consumption.

i've been ranting here for awhile so i'll stop with this last point: mobility. i know, a lot of people will say that a laptop is just as mobile as a umpc but my experience has been that it is not. not nearly. think about it. a laptop has a unique design that requires it to sit open with the keyboard on a flat surface and the monitor flipped up. this means that while you can transport the thing around you are really just moving from one flat surface to another. you cannot easily use a laptop while standing or while laying on the couch or in the car or while walking about. the laptop is transportable but not truly mobile. the umpc on the other hand is both transportable and mobile. because it has no keyboard you can hold it in one hand. you can stand and use it, lie on the couch and use it, walk and use it. these things sound trivial but once you are unteathered from the desktop or table you'll find that you use the umpc more - at least i do. i enjoy actually writing in my own handwriting my blog while reclined comfortably on the couch. in the morning i drink my coffee in the kitchen while reading the news in one hand. it's natural and convenient. i don't have to drag my coffee up to my office and sit at my desk to get my morning started. the screen is not so small that it is unusable and not so big that it is unmobile. its form factor meets the needs of a new generation of mobile computing that i think people will embrace because it is where we are heading.

i believe the umpc will replace the notebook in the long term. as processors reduce in size and increase in performance and other technologies like samsung's new led screens reduce power requirements and battery technology improves, we'll find that umpcs can do everything that we need them to so and give us the benefits of truly mobile computing. current generation umpcs are just the start but if they are any indication of where things are headed then i think computing is heading in the right direction.

just my 1.5 cents.

cheers everyone,