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Is the Next Big Thing a Little PC

Techstination feature for Friday, March 17, 2006

Is the next big thing….a little computer. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The first models are due to arrive next month….from Samsung. Small…7 inch screen versions of tablet PCs. Microsoft and Intel have been working on the concept which they code named Origami. But Microsoft's director of Windows client mobility, Mika Krammer, says…

"We're calling it the ultra mobile PC. That's not a brand, that's just the name of a category. What Microsoft is branding are the Windows components and the software and what will be branded from a hardware perspective, depends on the OEM."

The manufacturers of the devices. They'll connect wirelessly to networks and the Internet, some models will have slide out mini keyboards….and will have USB ports for expansion. They'll be able to run standard programs that work under Windows….and applications designed for the new platform. Prices will range between 600 and a thousand dollars….about the same as many larger notebook computers. So who will buy?

"Initially our target market are the technology enthusiasts, so those that want to be first to market to buy the newest technology. As we see this during the pre-Windows Vista timeframe, before our new operating system ships, we're anticipating these technology enthusiasts to adopt these devices and in the meantime we're building our ecosystem to be able to appeal more to a mass consumer market."

Tablet PCs….haven't caught on the way Microsoft had envisioned they would….so some may be skeptical about Microsoft's claims that ultra mobiles will become as ubiquitous as mobile phones. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.