Medion UMPC RIM 1000: a first look

Medion has launched a second-generation Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) featuring a neat slide-out keyboard.

Medion, the Germany-based specialist in mobile kit such as notebooks, handhelds and satellite navigation devices, has launched a 'second-generation' Ultra Mobile PC, the UMPC RIM 1000. Aimed at commuters and other mobile profesionals, the UMPC RIM 1000 will be available from May 2007, both online and at a number of retail outlets, for £799.99 (inc. VAT).

The Medion UMPC RIM 1000 will be available in May 2007 at £799.99 (inc. VAT).

Medion's system bears a striking resemblance to the Gigabyte U60, which we previewed from CeBIT in Hanover back in March. It has the same slide-out QWERTY keyboard and multiple navigation options including a mini-touchpad, a passive touch-screen and a four-way navigation button plus left and right mouse buttons. The screen is a 6.5in. TFT with a resolution of 800 by 480 pixels.

Weighing around 740g and measuring a reasonably compact 190mm wide by 121mm deep by 28.3mm thick when closed, the Vista-based UMPC RIM 1000 uses Via's C7-M 770 ULV processor supported by 768MB of DDR2 RAM. According to Medion's UK marketing and business development chief Rick Munday, Intel chips were not used in this system because they couldn't deliver the required battery life — the claimed figure for the Via-based UMPC RIM 1000 is between 4 and 5 hours from its lithium polymer battery. Following Intel's recent UMPC announcements from IDF in Beijing, it will be interesting to see whose chips appear in the next iteration of this device.

Elsewhere, there's a dedicated graphics chip, the Via UniChrome Pro II GFX, to drive the touch-screen, a front-facing webcam for videoconferencing, a 30GB hard disk (no flash or hybrid drives here yet) and an SD card slot for storage (the SD card slot is also SDIO-compatible), plus 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 for local and short-range wireless connectivity. There's no SIM card slot for wide-area wireless, so for the moment you'll have to connect to a suitable mobile phone via Bluetooth; however, Medion says that future models will include a SIM card slot. Another upcoming addition is a built-in GPS receiver and navigation software — no surprise given Medion's sat-nav heritage.

A number of accessories will become available for the UMPC RIM 1000 in June, including a docking station, a leather carry case, a USB digital TV receiver and an external dual layer DVD rewriter.

Although Medion's Rick Munday described the UMPC RIM 1000 as 'affordable' at Thursday's launch in London, we suspect that its £799.99 (inc. VAT) price will have to come down significantly before it begins to sell in serious quantities. In fact, it may well take a third generation of the UMPC platform to get this class of mobile internet device fully off the ground.

We will post a full evaluation of the UMPC RIM 1000 as soon as review samples become available, in the next few weeks.