These are tough times for the UMPC, whose promise of pocket-size, always-on computing has been overshadowed by the proliferation of cheaper Netbooks. But Samsung, one of the first companies to announce a UMPC back when the initiative was known simply as Origami, has continued to issue updates to its Q1 Ultra. The latest, announced Monday: the Q1U-CMXP, notable for its integrated HSDPA cellular modem, and the Q1UP-V, a Q1 Ultra Premium running Windows Vista Business.
The Q1U-CMXP is almost identical to the Q1 Ultra released last year, with the addition of a 3G cellular modem that's compatible with AT&T's network. The Q1UP-V, meanwhile, features the same 1.3GHz Intel Core Solo U1500 CPU as the model we reviewed last month but increases the RAM to 2GB to better handle Windows Vista Business.
There's little doubt that these two enhancements seem designed to up the UMPC's appeal among corporate IT buyers, who may be the only folks left who can shell out $1,400 for a tiny tablet. But that's still a hefty price tag, considering that much of the same functionality can be had with a Netbook or one of today's newer smartphones.
Which all begs the question: is there vitality yet in the UMPC format, or should Samsung (and other manufacturers) pull the devices off life support? Tell me what you think.