Just over a year ago, Microsoft and Intel announced the Origami platform which would lay the foundation for Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPCs). UMPCs were supposed to retail for between $599 to $999 and were based around the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. “We believe that (ultra-mobile PCs) will eventually become as indispensable and ubiquitous as the mobile phone today,” said Microsoft VP Bill Mitchell in March of 2006.
The prices never did quite dip into the $599 USD range and UMPCs never did quite live up to initial sales forecasts (Samsung has sold fewer than 100,000 units of its Q1), but the market is still pushing forward. As manufacturers like Samsung, Asus and HTC are working on second generation UMPC designs which run on Windows Vista; it looks as though Intel is looking to take the “bigger than a Smartphone, smaller than a laptop” sector in a different direction. Intel posted two slides on its website ahead of IDF Beijing which detail the new Mobile Internet Device (MID) platform.
Intel is targeting the MID platform, codename McCaslin, to appeal more to the consumer market. Most UMPCs are priced out of the typical consumer market — with prices ranging from around $900 to $1,800 — and end up being purchased by business professionals instead of the average user who has been spoiled by $500 laptops and carrier-subsidized Smartphones.
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Intel, UMPCs, Tablet, PC, Edition, Ultra-mobile PCs, Origami, Platform