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.
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.