Remember Origami? Remember Newton?
When Microsoft started marketing their Origami project, which was eventually unveiled as the UMPC (ultra mobile PC), people on Apple-centric fora (and elsewhere) started raving about how such a device could be "the next Newton" and how Apple just *had* to create something similar.
But as can be expected by something Bill Gates finds truly "useful", it's just not. 1100 USD effectively buy you a brick that can play some media for about 3 hours. You can also try to enter data. But the three hours of battery life will be used up so quickly (because data entry - as with many mobile devices without a keyboard) is probably the worst thing you've ever encountered. Not as bad as falling off a roof, but if you try to write a longer article or numbers for three hours, you may wish to jump. Take those three hours, use up one for driving to where your notebook or desktop computer is, half an hour to enter the same amount of data, another hour to drive back with the result and you have 30 minutes to spare and a smile on your face instead of wishing to kill yourself. At least that's how I see the device after having played with one (very) shortly and agreeing wholeheartedly with this PCMag.com review
the next Newton in many aspects. See: The worst thing about the Newton was that for a PDA, it was too big - and compared to a notebook, it lacked the processing power. These are the two "features" Microsoft, intel and the producing companies like Samsung copied. The Newton, however, sported very good battery life and the input options were actually good
in the second revision of the operating sytem.
Apple ever create the next Newton? Should anyone
do that? I think there is
room for another device category. The PSP and the 5G iPod have shown that there is
some interest in portable video-watching. There's also a market for better on-the-go E-Mail (I hear Blackberries are all the rage in business environments). So why doesn't anybody give the world a veeeeeeeery small notebook which is okay to type on (the Newton and eMate keyboards were a good size, at least if your fingers are not an inch in diameter...), has good battery life (8 hours plus) and runs an operating system the hardware is capable of catching up with?Probably, because it's not possible at a reasonable price yet,
some may say. But I kindly disagree. A decent OS can be put on NAND memory (4 GB should be *MORE* than enough for a decent mobile OS!) and stay updatable. Together with a 60 GB (or bigger) iPod-sized (1.8") harddrive for the media you want to enjoy or create and a decent screen, it could be done. Theoretically. We'll see. Not?
Either way: The ugly beast dubbed UMPC (probably Bill asked "What should we call this?" and someone answered "um... PC?") is going to be remembered as the... Well, probably it'll be better off not