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Innovation

Is Lance right? Are palmtop PCs a bad idea?

Lance Ulanoff at PC Magazine declares the new Vulcan FlipStart (and the Sony UX series and the OQO and UMPCs) are deader than a doornail and a bad idea that must be stopped. Of course Lance also declared the Tablet PC a failure and has now come to his senses on that score at least, admitting that maybe he was premature in that judgement and that he now understands the benefits a Tablet provides.
Written by Marc Orchant, Contributor on

Lance Ulanoff at PC Magazine declares the new Vulcan FlipStart (and the Sony UX series and the OQO and UMPCs) are deader than a doornail and a bad idea that must be stopped. Of course Lance also declared the Tablet PC a failure and has now come to his senses on that score at least, admitting that maybe he was premature in that judgement and that he now understands the benefits a Tablet provides.

I'm not going to quote his whole rant here (fair use and all taht) but take a minute to read it and let me know what you think. Is he right? Are these miniaturized PCs just gadget-boy fodder and useless for real folks?

I do tend to agree that the increasing power in true mobile devices – smartphones – does tend to make the extreme cost and relative bulk of palmtops problematic. I just spent less money (much less) on a fully featured laptop for my dad (like a third of the cost of one of these mini-PCs) running Vista Home Premium in all its Aero glory. Not exactly a fair comparison but the point is that I could have picked him up a Palm Treo, Moto Q, Samsung BlackJack, or any of a number of Nokia smartphones – unlocked – and prepaid a year contract with data plan with any US carrier and still had money left over.

Lance writes:

Anyone who wants portable computing power but hates carrying around a laptop has other, much better alternatives in the every-growing [sic] world of smart phones. These fast-selling devices make perfect sense and give you access to what you most want when on the road—your e-mail. They also combine document editing, photography, and, of course phone calls.

Hard to argue with that observation. I do all of the above on both my Treo 700P and Nokia N93 all the time.

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