Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A while back, I blogged about my brief experience with the Sony UX180 ( and noted that, while it is a worthwhile device, I thought Windows XP was a poor choice for its operating system as it lacked the small screen support of Windows Mobile. Well, it seems a couple of OEM's have made similar observations and are rolling out mid-size mobile devices running Windows Mobile.

The HTC Athena ( reportedly has a 3.5" screen, which is a good size for a WinMo device. Should make it easier to interact with the screen. Nothing is yet known about the so-called UMPC from Tatung (, aside from photos that lack size reference. If it's a 6" screen or smaller, WinMo should fit it just fine.

Of course, that's just my opinion, and discussion over the usefulness of Windows Mobile on these devices has been running back and forth, not to mention the debate on what qualifies as a true UMPC. Personally, I feel the versatility and power of Windows XP is too much for small screen devices with limited resources. Sure, it opens more options but most XP apps are simply not designed for small screens. Couple this with the limited processing power of small devices and the advantage of versatility narrows greatly.

Also, it's worth noting that Tatung offers devices with embedded operating systems. This new UMPC could be a vertical market offering running Windows CE. Hard to judge until we see some specs.

Shoutback: - Tatung Joins The Windows Mobile/UMPC Kinda Merged Thing
The Carrypad UMPC journal.: Tatung UMPC.
jkOnTheRun: Everyone's looking forward to the HTC Athena
CateGoogles: mobile_tech
Mood = curious

Labels: ,

Small screens with small operating systems


  1. Three letters come to mind when it comes to Windows Mobile: VPN. Ever tried connecting to a Cisco VPN with Pocket PC? I tried unsuccessfully with Movian years ago. There might be options that work, now, but the Cisco client for Windows and Linux doesn't cost me anything. And sure, I'm pretty much paperless, but I still want the option of printing without shelling out extra dough.

    I'll take Windows Mobile on my phone, but not on my other portable; it has to be able to allow me to do my job. Even Linux would be better. Won't stop me from drooling, though. If the price is right, I might even be convinced to replace my ePods (which never goes anywhere with me) with something better--after I buy a Mac and maybe a new 12" convertible.

    By Blogger minimage, at 12/27/2006 10:31:00 PM

  2. Right, it has to allow you to do your job. Sure, you do need a full PC operating system like Windows XP for many tasks, like accessing a VPN. But could you do your job effectively using Windows XP on a 5" screen? If you're just communicating, it would probably work. But working with documents would be difficult. Even on a UMPC with a 7" screen, there are space constraints. Go smaller and the issue gets worse to the point that the versatility advantage of XP is highly eroded. If you can handle using XP on a 5" screen, great. But generally speaking, that's a tough way to work in my opinion.

    By Blogger Sumocat, at 12/27/2006 11:19:00 PM

  3. Before we privatized our network, I would use my Axim X5 to remote into my PC and access our call database. It wasn't fun, though, mostly because I had no keyboard, but partly because I had to pan around the screen. I will have to concede (painfully) that I cannot work with any screen smaller than the one on my R2H (or just don't want to). I don't much want to PLAY with a smaller screen; it doesn't even fit with the way I use my web browser.

    I guess I was just thinking that anything that aspired to be a UMPC would need to be able to do as much as my current UMPC (and preferably more).

    By Blogger minimage, at 12/30/2006 01:59:00 AM

  4. "More" is a relative term. WinMo gets much better battery life and is designed for small screens. Functionality is considerably less than that of XP, but my point is the screen size is already a hard limit on what you can run. Full PC functionality is not necessary if the device is too small to use full PC functionality.

    That said, that rumored $1700 price tag on the Athena pretty much kills it. Better and much cheaper to downsize to a smaller smartphone or upsize to a fully functional UMPC.

    BTW, I am starting to get jealous of all you guys with the R2H. That is the first UMPC to really catch my eye. I look forward to reading more on your adventures with it.

    By Blogger Sumocat, at 12/30/2006 08:41:00 AM

  5. Heh! I'm still fighting with the CPU usage. I'm going to take a few more steps, but I'm beginning to wonder if I'm going to have to nuke it from orbit and see what a fresh TPCE 2005 install looks like.

    By Blogger minimage, at 1/03/2007 12:21:00 AM

  6. The instant-on feature and potentially longer battery life of WinMo devices is also perfect for UMPCs.

    By Blogger Clifford, at 1/06/2007 03:35:00 AM

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