Its gangly, mutant appearance frightened fellow Craver Mike Yamamoto last year when he spied Samsung's ultramobile PC with a fold-out keyboard, but I've been pining for this odd duck of a UMPC to reach the U.S.
I'm not sure I'd buy one (pricing is still unknown, for one thing), but I'd certainly like the chance to review it to get a sense of its overall operation. Folding and unfolding it may become cumbersome while on the go, but I still like the idea of pairing a tiny, 5-inch UMPC with a full-size keyboard. UMPCs like the Vulcan FlipStart, the OQO model 02, and Samsung's own Q1 Ultra feature smartphone-like keyboards that are good for little else than banging out an e-mail or a Web address by thumb, and their method of inputting text is preferable to using an onscreen keyboard like the one on the Asus RH2.
Unfortunately, I still have no idea when I might be able to get my hands on Samsung's UMPC. What is now known--if a leaked manual in Korean and those translating it to English are to be believed--are its specs. The Samsung SPH-P9200 will use a Via C7-M processor, which is the same chip found in the OQO (we weren't blown away by its performance). And like the OQO, the Samsung uses Windows XP instead of Vista since big, bad Vista would likely bring this little UMPC to its knees. Its 512MB of memory and 30GB hard drive are at the low end of the range for UMPCs, but hopefully that will translate to a price that's closer to $1,000 than $2,000.
Other extras include a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, an optical joystick and mouse buttons;a SIM card slot; and networking by way of Wi-Fi, WiBro (Korean WiMAX), and HSDPA. The 5-inch display is touch sensitive and features 800x480 resolution. The touch-sensitive screen would make browsing the Web possible without having to unfold the keyboard. A 15-pin accessory port is also listed in the manual, but it's unknown what it might be used for. The number of USB ports on the UMPC is also unknown, but a port replicator provides a pair along with LAN and VGA ports. The manual suggests that the standard battery will last 2 to 2.5 hours and the extended battery will run up to 5 hours--weak on both accounts. It would also appear that the SPH-P9200 lacks Bluetooth.
Hopefully the next time Samsung's UMPC is in the news, we'll find out how much it'll cost and where it'll be sold.