The days preceding the Consumer Electronics Show are always full of excitement, speculation, and anticipation. There’s already a lot to look forward to in the UMPC arena, including new devices and panel discussions, but today word came that Mr. Microsoft himself will be showing off "new approaches to the UMPC format that is an attempt to straddle the PDA and Tablet PC categories" in a speech on Sunday.
Microsoft has never officially defined the UMPC, whose name has been misused lately, in this way before. Marketing has been fairly dismal thus far, too, so perhaps a hybrid definition (as well as new processors, longer battery life, and Windows Vista) will help win over the masses who have yet to warm up to the form factor.
Microsoft may see the device as the midpoint between tablets and PDAs, but HTC and Tatung are aiming to "bridge the UMPC and Pocket PC formats" with their upcoming Windows Mobile units (Athena being most notable). Then, of course, there’s the matter of handtops that don’t fit into either of the categories: Sony, OQO, and Samsung all offer gadgets with similar dimensions and function but that run on standard Windows XP. These PCs aren’t always included in discussions about UMPCs, which is odd considering that they’re at least running full-blown XP.
Whatever is unveiled at CES will likely blur the UMPC definition even further, so I think I’ll need to loosen my grip on it, too.[IT Week via TabletGear]