Mossberg pans FlipStart UMPC

Mossberg pans the FlipStart UMPC in today’s Wall Street Journal. Comes to the usual conclusion that the in-between form factor falls between two stools rather than finding a vacant sweet spot. The keyboard is too big for thumbing and too small for touch typing. The screen is too small for regular Windows work. It doesn’t fit in your pocket. He goes further than these generic objections to UMPC in his critique of the FlipStart, saying it’s riddled with bugs, too expensive, too thick and too heavy, though he likes the screen size and the battery life.

Citing the iPhone, he concludes that the mobile PC of the future will evolve from the smartphone, rather than the laptop. I agree.

3 Replies to “Mossberg pans FlipStart UMPC”

  1. UMPC, which is trying to put a laptop PC into a smaller form factor, is a solution looking for a problem. The current offerings at prices over $1000 do not offer enough of a differentiation for consumers from standard low end laptops. However, there is a market need for devices with a larger screen than current smartphones at prices of about $500 targeting enterprises and professional consumers. Nokia’s 770 Internet Tablet is a step in the right direction. Its latest device is supposed to address the shortcomings of this one and has a better chance of success in filling the sweet spot.

  2. There is definitely a market for devices with a screen about the size of a paperback book page. Ebooks, for example, or personal DVRs, or any number of clipboard-type commercial uses, like medical charts or notes. New display technologies like Liquavista or PV-QML5 or any of the several other ones you get by Googling “flexible screen” mean that these devices can come in a phone form factor.
    The question is whether we need them to have the same personality as a PC (i.e. full Windows), which appears to be the differentiating feature of the UMPC concept.

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