A Look Back at CeBIT 2008: Ultra Mobile PC’s

Several interesting ultra mobile PCs (UMPC) were launched at the recent Cebit 2008 show. As more and more companies enter this field, there is a steady improvement in the ultra mobile PC’s processing power, features, and battery life. Here are some of the most innovative mobile devices we came across at Europe’s biggest IT show, which was held earlier this month.

Gigabyte

Gigabyte

 Gigabyte M528 UMPC
Gigabyte M528 UMPC

showcased two of its latest UMPC models – the M700, a compact-looking device with no keyboard, which weighs about 0.65 kg (1.4lbs). Powered by VIA’s 1.2GHz CPU, the M700 sports a 7”, 1024×600 touch-sensitive display, and runs Vista Home Premium OS using 2GB of RAM. Other features include a maximum storage capacity of 60GB, a built-in webcam, GPS, and a WiMax-capable ExpressCard slot. At the moment, the company has not disclosed any details regarding the pricing or release date of this product. 

For those of you who still want to have a keyboard on-the-go, Gigabyte unveiled its M704 model, which has fairly similar specifications to the M700. The M704 has a slightly longer battery life (4 hrs, as opposed to M700’s 3 hrs) and is 0.78kg heavier than the M700. The company plans to release the M704 in June 2008, and expects the computer to cost around 800 Euros (about $1,200). 

Gigabyte also presented its mobile internet device (MID) M528, an ultra-compact mobile PC, based on Intel’s 800MHz “Menlow” chip, with a 4.8”, 800×480 touchscreen. The M528 runs a Linux OS, includes a slide-out keyboard, and weighs as little as 340 grams. Other features include 512 MB of memory, GPS, and a 4GB SSD (Solid Stated Disk). One of the two cameras integrated into this device has a resolution of 3 Mega-Pixels – a first of this kind for such a device. According to Gigabyte, the M528 will be released in mid 2008, and is estimated to cost around 700 Euros (under $1,100).

ASUS

ASUS launched its new R70, which uses a 7” touchscreen and an Intel 1.6GHz CPU. This keyboard-less device, which follows-up the company’s previous 5” R50 model, runs a Windows Vista OS and has an integrated GPS, along with a 120GB hard disk drive, a 3.5G wireless adapter, a web-camera, and a fingerprint scanner – a feature that is becoming increasingly popular in many UMPCs.  

The Current 7 
The Current 7″ ASUS Eee PC –
a 10″ model is in the making

The ASUS Eee PC sub-notebooks, which were presented in a wide range of colors, received a lot of attention at the show. The 7” Eee PC runs a Linux OS and includes 512 MB of RAM, a 4G SSD hard-drive, a web-cam, and an SD card slot. However, the big news at Cebit was the announcement of the Eee PC family expansion – ASUS showcased its 8.9” EeePC, which sports a 1024×600 display, and is equipped with 1GB of RAM, an SSD with an 8-12GB capacity, and is capable of running Windows XP and Linux OS. This newest addition to the Eee PC family will hit the market in mid 2008, and is estimated to cost around 400 Euros (about $600) for the 12GB version. The company said it is currently working on the development of a 10” model, which is planned to be equipped with a faster CPU. However, this task may prove to be more complex, since it will be necessary to upgrade the cooling system to fit the new CPU speeds.

Panasonic

Panasonic unveiled a UMPC from the Toughbook series – a shock resistant and water resistant device that weighs about 1kg. This mobile PC, which is equipped with a 5.6” touchscreen and full keyboard, uses Intel’s new Atom CPU and runs Windows XP or Vista. Similarly to other Toughbook series’ products, this device, dubbed “CF-U1”, is designed to be used in “extreme environments”. There are no major surprises in its specifications, except the fact that the number pad is positioned right in the middle of the QWERTY keyboard. The CF-U1’s release date is scheduled for sometime in fall 2008, and the company has yet to disclose details regarding the product’s pricing.

Clevo

Another notable UMPC was presented by the Taiwanese company “Clevo“. Clevo presented a 7” “TN70M Convertible” model, which is an Intel Menlow-based (1.6 GHz) tablet notebook. The computer, which runs Windows Vista OS, features a fingerprint reader, a PCI Express slot, and a special 4-cell battery design that boosts the product’s battery life to approximately 7 hours. This is a very long battery life, especially in comparison to other UMPCs, which usually last for no longer than 4 hours LG.

Samsung

 Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium (Credit: Samsung)
Samsung Q1 Ultra
Premium (Credit: Samsung)

Samsung demonstrated a successor to its successful Q1 Ultra UMPC model, the Q1 Ultra Premium. According to the company, this premium model is three times faster than the original Q1 due to its 65 nm, 1.5GHz “Core 2” CPU from Intel. The model runs Windows XP OS, and is equipped with a 6-cell battery, which allows for 7.5 hrs of battery life. Other features include 1 GB DDR2 of RAM, and a hard drive capacity of 80 GB.

 LG XNote B831
LG XNote B831

LG

LG showcased a UMPC called “XNOTE B831”, which is an especially comfortable slide-out device with a 4.8’’ touchscreen. The computer weighs a little over 0.5 kg (1.1lbs), runs Vista OS, includes a 40GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, and rumor has it that it is already available in preorder.

HTC

 

 The new OQO
The new OQO

Another CeBIT UMPC “star” was the HTC “Shift”. The Shift has a 7″ angle-adjustable touchscreen, Vista OS, a full QWERTY keyboard, and an impressive 2 days standby battery life. Other specifications include a maximum hard disk capacity of 60GB, Intel’s 800 MHz processor, and 1GB of DDR2 RAM. 

TFOT has previously covered a number of interesting UMPCs, such as OQO’s recently updated sub-notebook, and the SwitchBack – a rugged ultra mobile PC that is capable of operating in extreme conditions including rain, high temperatures, and shock. For more recent technological innovations see TFOT’s  full coverage of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las-Vegas, where many state-of-the-art UMPCs were presented.