April 15, 2006
In laptops, small is beautifulPosted 3210 days ago on April 15, 2006
Writing about the "Origami" ultra-mobile PC in Personal Computer World, Clive Akass acknowledges immaturity of the early devices, but remarks that "...when I first looked at an Origami at Cebit, I got the same shiver down my spine that I felt when I first loaded Mosaic".
I've not yet played with a UMPC, but I'm keen on both convergence and small form factors. Back in 2003 I replaced my old 14" screen laptop with an Acer Tablet PC which has a 10.4" screen. Although it is now two and a half years old, it still draws admiring comments because of its size, rather than for its Tablet capabilities. I will never go back to a larger device, but would happily go even smaller.
What's curious is that most laptops sold today still have 14" or 15" screens. The main reason I suspect is price. Looking at Dabs.com as a random example of a laptop vendor, I can get a 15" Toshiba Satellite Pro L20 for under £400.00. There are very few on offer with small displays. The only one with a 10.x" screen is the Fujitsu Siemens P7120 PM at nearly £1500. Yes, the spec is a bit better than the cheap Toshiba, but even so there is apparently a huge premium to pay if you want a more portable laptop.
Can a UMPC really replace a laptop? Done right, I don't see why not. My existing Tablet comes with external floppy and DVD attachments, but I always leave them behind and don't miss them. I do need a keyboard, but some sort of fold-out affair will be fine. Even a 7" screen will be OK for typing on-the-go.
Battery life is an issue, but let's note that power sockets are sprouting everywhere these days - my train to London has one at every seat. And you can always carry a spare battery.
In a few years time I suspect that today's big laptops will seem as quaint and impractical as those brick-like early mobile phones.
Small is beautiful.
Comments are closed
Recent postsUsers plead with Borland to give up .NET
IE7 to be released 18th October,...
If Microsoft doesn't use UAC, why...
Google's unsettling lack of direction
Vista security: now prove it