James, Kevin, and I just finished recording MobileTechRoundup podcast #135, which should go live soon, and we spent a fair amount of the show talking about the ultra portable PC/subnotebook market and how it has radically changed since the launch of the Asus EeePC last year. And according to the news at DigiTimes that Kevin wrote about on jkOnTheRun the prediction is that the market will continue to significantly increase.
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Netbooks were one of the biggest stories of the year and today the discussion continues about what these devices really are and if they deserve their own class. Netbooks are just small notebook computers, but at a price much lower than the ultra-portables of a year or two ago. There may be a good reason for picking up a netbook compared to a cheap larger notebook as pointed out by Celeste LeCompte in this BusinessWeek article.
Are you considering an ultra-mobile PC this holiday season? If so, then I highly recommend you check out the 11,000 word, 28-page Ultra Mobile Computing Buyer's Guide put together by the biggest fan of UMPCs I have ever seen, Steve "Chippy" Paine. He initially posted this in a 4-part article and has now assembled it all into a single PDF document that you can download and use as an essential reference tool.
Regular air travelers may be interested in ways to speed up the screening process and having a laptop bag that lets you leave your laptop inside and protected may be a good first step. There are some important guidelines about the "checkpoint friendly" bags that meet the technical requirements set forth by the TSA. There will not be ANY bags that are TSA approved, authorized, or endorsed so make sure you check these guidelines before being taken by a bag company.
For the first time in over four months it looks like Apple is finally catching up with demand for the Apple iPad 2.
I enjoy using the Nokia N810 device from time to time to surf, use some old Palm apps with GarnetVM, and watch movies. I do find it to be a bit laggy at times though so it isn't always with me. MobileCrunch posted some rumored news on the next Nokia Internet Tablet referred to as the N900, Rover, and Maemo Flagship. It is very similar to the Nokia N97, but with a higher resolution display and Maemo OS rather than S60.
Right at the end of 2008, Michael Arrington posted some info from his sources on a rumored large form Apple iPod touch/table for sometime in 2009. There is now some information available on an Apple patent for a large display device. Even with these pieces of information and hopes of the Apple faithful, I am highly skeptical of Apple ever releasing an Apple tablet/large display iPod. The iPod touch is already priced at $299 and $399 and the original iPhone (unsubsidized) was priced at US$599 so an Apple tablet would easily be priced at $700+ I am sure. In today's economy that is an unreasonable figure when small form notebooks with actual keyboards can be used to do the same thing for $300.
The rumors of an Apple tablet/large screen iPod continue to live on, along with the possible upcoming Crunchpad device. After reading Jeremy Toeman's latest article titled, The Tablet That Nobody Really Wants..., I have to say I think he put into words perfectly what most of us have been thinking. I have tried different tablet devices in the past and I see very little benefit from them for the majority of people. The iPhone/iPod touch seem to be just about as big as you need for a productive web surfing and media consumption device and a tablet Apple really does not make much sense to me.
My Amazon Kindle 2 arrived almost two weeks ago (see my review) and then at the end of last week two M-edge cases arrived for me to evaluate. I previously evaluated the M-Edge Executive Leather case or the original Kindle and this time I had the opportunity to check out the M-Edge Prodigy and Platform Jacket models for the Kindle 2. Both arrived in Pebbled Gray with a black strap, which is a classy, professional looking color scheme. Check out my image gallery of the two cases and short video walk around them.
There are limitations on current manufacturing prices to get a UMPC down in the US$500 price range, but if you really take a look at what a UMPC can do and what the specs are the prices are not as high as you might think. The value of having a slate Tablet PC with you on the go is worth the cost for many of us.