Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC), a nice mini plotter?


Panbo correspondant Jeff Siegel is excited about the nautical possibilities of this new PC architecture called UMPC, hyped recently as Origami,  and I can see why. I got excited when the first tablet PCs came out, until I realized that you had to use a special stylus, awkward at a helm. A UMPC is a 7” tablet PC on whose touch screen a finger works just fine. Add a USB or Bluetooth GPS, or a whole electronics network connected via WiFi, plus a bracket, and this puppy might make a very nice navigator. (I suspect it might be particularly competitive against the dedicated car navigators). Of course it can do a whole lot more, and it’s supposed to price below $1,000, but some folks are skeptical.

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

11 Responses

  1. John says:

    I agree. Looking forward to try it out.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nav Use Example

  3. Anonymous says:

    Slow and Battery hungry. I will wait till Intel and Apple put out something,

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ah, this design is from Intel.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I would imagine they meant something from Apple and their new Intel chips…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Looks like there was a bit too much hype…
    Origami overhyped

  7. Bill Kearney says:

    Apple already tried and failed with the Newton. It was slow and battery hungry. Don’t hold your breath. I developed for these devices so I’m more than a little qualified to comment.
    Few people actually need what a tablet device provides. Sure, lots THINK they want it, but the actual user experiences often fall far short of their expectations. Basically, nothing beats a keyboard for the tasks most people need to perform. Thus things like the blackberry have had considerably greater success than pen-based devices.
    On a boat a weatherproof UMPC might be a VERY handy device. The trick will be getting it at a price-point mere mortals can stomach. Given how tiny the marine market is, compared to everything else, that might be a real challenge.

  8. GPSNavX says:

    Going forward I would suspect Apple is going to focus on devices that help get more video and music content to folks. Clearly that is a winner for them. Jobs now being at Disney is part of this grand plan. The iTunes store will continue to be the hub of this plan.
    Eventually they will allow any show, movie or song to be purchased and downloaded.
    If and when Apple does release a portable tablet style device, we will be there with our nav software.

  9. You can get a fair Win2K tablet on eBay for less than $300. You can get a PCMCIA GPS card for $50. The software and charts are free. Has anyone looked at the price of large-screen, dedicated, marine GPS devices lately?
    Add an EV-DO type of high speed Internet setup from a major cell carrier and you have an all-in-one station that easily tops what other systems offer. Weather, AIS, communication, information access, entertainment, you name it. Under $500.
    Tablet PCs win out over conventional laptops simply because their form factor allows easy bulkhead mounting.
    UMPC devices are smaller tablet PCs. Nothing to hide there. No surprises. It’s an evolution. The price of these will come down too. A smaller screen uses less power. Sometimes that’s really important on a boat.
    I’m sure similar devices made by Apple will be wonderful but are only be useful in this context when the (free) software is widely available.

  10. Chan Wai Cheung Stevenson says:

    Dear Sir/ Madam,
    I am writing to request for the permission of using one of the photos in your website, as I am doing the coursework of 2010 HKCEE Computer and Information Technology. The topic of the coursework is Module B – Using Mobile Computing Devices in Education.
    As the following photo is extremely useful in my work, I sincerely hope that you may allow me to post it in my coursework.
    I am looking forward to receiving your reply of giving me the permission. Thank you very much!
    Yours faithfully,
    Stevenson Chan
    A Form 5 student of St. Mark�s School

  11. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks for your note, Stevenson. I’m answering publicly as I get requests like this fairly often.
    I believe that the photo you’re asking about is product imagery that was made available for unrestricted use by the pictured manufacturer, Samsung. You’ll find galleries of such photos here:
    I can’t give you permission to use such photographs myself, but you don’t need permission.
    Photographs that I take myself and post on this site usually have names ending “cPanbo” indicating that I claim rights to them under the Creative Commons license linked to on my pages, and here:
    You’ll see that the license allows people like yourself to use my images for non commercial purposes as long as credit is given, preferably a link to this site.
    Again, thanks for asking, Stevenson, and good luck with your project.

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