Intel-based ultra mobile PCs to run one week per battery charge

Tel Aviv (Israel) - In August, Intel unveiled its idea to squeeze one more class of mobile devices between today's smallest notebooks and PDAs. At the currently held IDF in Tel Aviv, the company went into more detail, promising a week-long battery running time and a case with the size of a pocket book built around a scaled down version of the Pentium M.

Intel's developer forum (IDF) in Israel is not the place one would not expect earth-shattering announcements to be made. Accordingly, the company did not release any US press announcements this week relating to the event. But Israel is the home of Intel's Pentium M processor and its upcoming successors and the developer team did not miss the chance to provide some updates on topics Intel barely touched at the most recent IDF in San Francisco, back in August.

Most interesting, David Perlmutter, vice president and co-general manager of the company's Mobility Group and in charge of the development of key components, spent some time on the ultra mobile PCs or UMPC category, which Intel CEO Paul Otellini briefly mentioned in his August keynote. The UMPC, a miniature variation of today's notebooks, is scheduled to be commercially available late next year, will come in a size and weight not much greater then a common handheld.

The UMPC's form factor, scheduled to enter a pre-commercial stage next year, will close to what is offered today in OQO's "ultra personal computer" and have a design that is the size of a "small book" and a weight of about one pound. The "typical" battery running time of the UMPC will be "around a week," Perlmutter said. This "running time" apparently referred to a stand-by time, while actual continuous operation time is expected to come in at about 8 hours: In Intel terms, the battery should deliver enough juice for one day's worth of work.

While details how Intel wants to achieve this goal were scarce, Perlmutter mentioned that the device will be based on "a scaled-down version of a Pentium M processor." The UMPC will provide full PC capability, which can handle most common computing tasks, including web-browsing, e-mail and even computer games. "It won't be as strong as a standard PC", he explained, "but it will have more computing power than what we had in PCs only two years ago." According to Paul Otellini, processors for UMPCs will consume about 0.5 watts and be able to run Windows Vista.

Commercial availability of early UMPCs is scheduled for the second half 2006. Perlmutter added that a "breakthrough" for the devices is expected for "2007 or 2008."