UMPC

E-Lead Electronic Noahpad UMPC gets official

Noahpad_uiUpdate: See video and live photos from CES 2008

The official website for E-Lead Electronic’s Noahpad UMPC has just gone live: www.noahpad.com. Along with the announcement emailed to me this morning came a full press release (below) containing several references to the Eee PC and some clarification about the "dual large touch pads" and backwards typing mentioned in the previous promotional material.

The two 2.76-inch squares are actually clickable touch pads that can be used as both a full QWERTY keyboard that "mimics the feel of pressing down the keys on regular keyboards" and an oversized trackpad to control the on-screen pointer. When the 7-inch display, which uses virtual screen technology to expand the viewing area to 10 inches, is flipped 360 degrees to lay behind the touch pads, it becomes "semi-transparent" and allows users to "see" their fingers and the keyboard.

Noahpad_display

Noahpad_typing

This illusion was designed to "maximize users’ typing speed" because it allows typing with multiple fingers. Unlike most UMPCs, which rely on a user’s thumbs for data input, the Noahpad UMPC ignores the thumbs and puts the rest of the fingers to work. E-Lead is confident that this unique way of typing will quickly become "second nature," but I need to try it myself to believe it.

Noahpad_360

The company told me in a separate email that the Noahpad could be available as early as March 2008. Though my contact said that pricing would be divulged then, the press release (below) indicates that it will have a "similar range of pricing with the Eee PC," which means somewhere near the vicinity of around $500.

Noahpad_hanging

We’ll see what happens at CES and in the months leading up to the release. One thing’s for sure, though. E-Lead isn’t giving up on the "hang it on a hanger" and now "hang it from your neck" marketing angle.

Full press release below.

The leading supplier of car electronics in Taiwan
E-lead Electronics
Noahpad UMPC by patented Noahpad technologies
Debut in CES 2008

The leading supplier of car electronics in Taiwan, E-lead electronics Co., LTD., will be announcing it Noahpad UMPC in CES 2008 in Las Vegas. The debut Noahpad UMPC is utilizing the “Noahpad” human machine interface (HMI) which has been developing for two and half years under E-Lead’s robust R&D system. With the similar range of pricing with Eee PC, Noahpad has different product positioning. Eee PC mainly focus on computer starter and emphasize its easy to learn and easy to use. However, Noahpad UMPC position itself as a second computer, namely, a pocket computer. You can use it wherever you like. No matter you are sitting, standing, lying or even you are walking, driving, cooking or gardening, you can use it comfortably. The characteristics of classmate, roommate and travelmate makes Noahpad UMPC a good company while you are studying, resting, or traveling.

According to E-lead’s interpretation, Noahpad interface technology makes two clickable touchpads can be changeable in between QWERTY keyboard and big size touchpad. Using this interface technology, Noahpad UMPC has only 2/3 size of Eee PC, but with non-crowded QWERTY function and big size touchpad. You can use it as a “Notebook mode”, or use it as a “Palm mode” if you fold it back all the way around 360 degree. Under the two operation modes, you can be typing or cursoring on the pad freely, not necessarily putting your UMPC on the table.

Furthermore, Noahpad UMPC integrates the virtual screen technology and Noahpad interface operation, so that 7”screen can be viewed up to 10”screen effect. Therefore, concerns in regard to the small size of 7”screen can be easily solved. A patented design of flip back structure aiding with special design holder can turn Noahpad UMPC an in car navigation device. This in-car navigation device carries the advantage of having super size screen in front without blocking driving vision. The unique structure of flipping back to 360 degrees can even turn Noahpad UMPC a digital photo frame and multimedia player. You can therefore put it or hang it everywhere you wish. Noahpad UMPC is built by using revolutionary technologies and has more than 40 patents worldwide. For more information, please visit our website at www.noahpad.com

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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15 thoughts on “E-Lead Electronic Noahpad UMPC gets official

  • I can only say: but wow!

    This is an exciting concept. I even like the coat hangers! This looks like I can fit it on an airline tray table or a kitchen counter along with food.

    The keyboard/transparent screen interface looks like it takes advantage of eye-hand coordination. The 1.7lb weight appeals to me.

    After my 1.5 yo daughter sneezed on my keyboard, I wished it were a touchpad.

    There’s a lot to like here. I’m not sure about the 10″ screen in a 7″ frame, but being able to push it around by multitouch sounds feasible.

    Reply
  • yeah, like you are going to hang it around your neck while jogging as an mp3 player.

    That is about the most ludicrous marketing concept that I have ever seen.

    I thought this thing had real keys; typing on a TOUCHPAD would be pretty tough even if you can “see” your fingers. I agree with jkk, a concept that has already come and gone before it even came.

    Reply
  • Then why do I keep meeting people who like typing on their iPhones?

    This is the kind of breakthrough that is hard to assess from an armchair. It depends on a lot of implementation details. For example, if it’s pressure sensitive, you *may* be able to see your fingers even when they’re not clicking but just touching lightly. If they’re visible but very faint it might take real advantage of natural eye-hand coordination, but I imagine they would have to test and tweak for quite awhile to obtain that effect.

    The hanging around the neck thing is another winner. I go to a lot of meetings where I could use a computer if it’s really convenient and somewhat unobtrusive. I stop to get coffee along the way. I need to either take my laptop in its shoulder-strapped case or struggle to find a place to put it down while I juggle change and the coffee. Then, when I get to the meeting, I have to be sensitive to whether it’s the kind of meeting where a laptop stands out. In such a meeting I would feel okay about something that would lay flat and not make any noise, ruling out my laptop or a noisy OQO for that matter.

    E-lead has been developing this for a couple of years with multiple partners (based on googling for press releases) and may have actually built in a lot of small details that users would appreciate.

    Then again, maybe the blogosphere can wipe it out before it has a chance to get into user hands, as with the Palm Foleo. I sometimes wish bloggers (I’m not talking about Jenn here) were less focused on marketing materials and more focused on user experience.

    Reply
  • Avatar of

    I’ll stick with my EeePC

    Reply
  • Avatar of Jarrod

    I would get this just because it looks kinda like a tricorder with the strap and all. I’m not reading any life signs captain…wait, why am I wearing a red uniform!?

    Reply
  • Nice, tho I love my eeePC with eeeXUbuntu on it. Perfectly readable, a bit slower to type on with the smaller keyboard but not writing war and peace on it ;-)

    O:nen ki’ wahi’ Bye for now

    Reply
  • this thig probably sux

    Reply
  • I own an Eee PC and love it, but the Noahpad looks pretty promising. I’m naturally skeptical about the touchpad keyboard, having too many terrible memories of oh-so-cool membrane keyboards. Other than that, I’d say the Eee has a serious contender here.

    Reply
  • Avatar of tumb_sc

    Instead of a shoulder strap, they should’ve went with a bum bag type approach.

    It doesn’t look as obvious if you have a headphone cable coming out of your bum bag.

    It looks like a purse from a distance! :)

    Reply
  • I must say this virtual screen thing is confusing (to me at least). Is the external dimension of the “screen” 10 inches? So it uses some sort of projection from 7″ to 10″? Seems hard to imagine they’d have space for that, if it’s 2/3 the size of the EEE. Or maybe that’s 2/3 the thickness?

    Reply
  • This looks like a cool idea. I’m also a bit wary of the touchscreen. I guess we’ll get to try them out, come March.

    Reply
  • @Kevin
    The “virtual screen” is an interesting concept with Xorg (the UNIX and Linux, default, graphical server). It allows you to separate resolution from the viewable area; meaning, you can have an 1024×768 viewing area with a 1440×900 screen size. The “virtual” part about it, is – using 1024×768 and 1440×900 as examples – you could have your “resolution” set to 1440×900, but you can only view 1024×768 at any given time; so your current screen will run off the sides of the viewable area, but you can scroll to view them. (usually by moving your mouse to the edge of the screen.
    I’ve messed around with this before, and I have to say, I’m not the biggest fan of it.

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  • @indienick — thanks! Yeah, I’ve worked w/ similar things, and my love of them is right up there with yours.

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  • Ok, so here’s my gig. I’m 13 and going back to school. I have an OLPC and it is terrible. I liked it at first because of the idea (who wouldn’t want to give a kid in a 3rd world country a laptop?) but now I have gotten more into programming and whatnot. This thing looks like it’s got lots of cool, high-end technology if it actually comes through with it’s promises. The screen seems fine to me, and the keyboard looks just plain killer. It would be really cool if the Noahpad came to Portland (hint, hint, nudge, nudge to E-lead!) and I could try it out.

    Reply

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