San Francisco (CA) - Forget about the first, relatively bulky UMPCs - which have sparked quite some controversy at their launch back in march of this year. The second generation is being prepped - with case designs and the functionality that was expected to be available for the initial wave of devices.
Compared to hysteria surrounding Microsoft's Origami project, or Intel's UMPC platform, depending on your view created, the ultra mobile computers have been disappointing. So far, they haven't been especially small, powerful, functional or stylish and received about as much attention as the tablet PC after its launch.
The perception of the UMPC, however, could change with new devices that are scheduled to launch as early as late this year and in the first half 2007. Intel provided a sneak peek at one of the UMPCs planned to hit the market in 2007 - a Yahoo-branded mobile device - that packs a comprehensive feature set into a small form factor. Technical details were scarce, but the presentation and hints given by senior vice president Dadi Perlmutter indicate that this will be the UMPC Microsoft and Intel should have introduced earlier this year. According to the executive, the devices will not use Core 2 Duo processor, and "consume approximately half the power of today's CPUs with approximately one-fourth the package size." Looking at Intel's current portfolio we would speculate that the device will use a low-voltage or ultra-low voltage Core Solo processor with 1 MB of L2 cache.
Since the device is tailored to handle mobile applications it won't need tremendous processing power and a Core Solo should be capable to power an UMPC. Among the applications shown were mobile Internet and email access as well as mapping functionality that was combined with Yahoo's local search. This scenario indicates that the devices will support GPS - which already had been planned for the first generation of UMPCs - as well as wireless broadband integration. Intel announced that it is working with Nokia to enable this feature for its mobile platforms and we also heard that Intel apparently has found Sierra wireless as a potential service provider.
Is Intel back and do they love Apple? You betcha!
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