Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sony unveils Flash-based UMPC

Here we go! Sony's Vaio UX ultra-mobile PC line has just grown by one model. They've removed the 30 GB hard drive from one model and dropped in 16 GB of flash memory. This article is just a teaser and, frankly, I'd wait for reviews before I got too excited, if I were you. Even so; I think this points the way toward the future of UMPCs.

I have a bet with a friend. If he wins, I have to build him an SMP desktop machine. If I win, he's going to give me some wireless networking gear he has laying about.

My bet is that there will be a minimum of 35 UMPC brands and models to choose from by 1 September, this year. I don't think I can lose. Should I be right, prices will fall (though not to the level Microsoft envisioned when they drew up the concept) and availability will increase. Not on the machines will become more available, but applications tweaked or designed outright for the devices.

Apple is even said to be working on a tablet and a companion UMPC. Everyone is going to want in to this market. Not because it will be such a huge outlet. It won't. UMPCs will always be a niche product. But as the concept matures, they seem more and more useful to me and I think a lot of mobile workers, students and those in other, similar, situations will jump at the chance for a machine with the same battery life as a bare-bones notebook that is smaller, lighter and still meets their needs.


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