Millions of Microsoft-based ultra mobile PCs to be sold

The slow advance of the UMPC will be hampered by the lack of appropriate processors, and short battery life, but is likely to find a niche, In-Stat said

Despite the general shrugging of shoulders that greeted the launch of the first Microsoft-based ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs), the lilliputian computers are still set to find a market, analysts believe.

According to research from In-Stat, the number of devices shipped could rise to 7.8m by 2011, driven by users keen for a data-centric device beyond their mobile.

The slow advance of the UMPC will be hampered by the lack of appropriate processors, In-Stat said, with battery life failing to match the functionality demands of the devices themselves. However, both Intel and Microsoft have said they are working on extending the devices' average battery life for future generations of UMPCs.

The research company also suggested UMPCs will need to appeal to certain consumer niches. It said: "There is no one-size-fits-all solution for all market segments."

The first UMPC — the Q1 from Samsung — will go on sale in the UK from 1 June, carrying a £799 price tag.

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