F@N: Fan-like UMPC announced as finalist in design competition


One of the finalists in the Microsoft-sponsored Next-Gen PC Design Competition, which will announce its winners next month, is F@N, this multi-screened modular UMPC that utilizes touchscreen, keyboard, and voice input to fully realize the potential of multitasking on a small screen.


Looking very much like a Solio hybrid charger with an iPod controller, the partially solar-powered F@N concept measures 5.9" x 2.4" x 0.98" and relies on a high-speed wireless connection to keep the three screens connected to the mainframe. I don’t really understand what that last part means, but the designer says that separating the screens and handing them to friends would allow all of you to "play a game together in a wireless online system."


The online voting period for the $2500 Public’s Choice Award ended a few weeks ago, so we missed our chance to vote for this or any of the other 30 finalists. A panel of ISDA-member judges will select the $10K first-, $5K second-, and $2500 third-place Judge’s Award winners from the pool, and Bill Gates (and his advisory committee) will hand out another $10K as the Chairman’s Award.

F@N isn’t the only handheld-computer entry that attempts to "influence tomorrow’s digital lifestyle" and "change the way people pursue their passions" (look at this crazy thing) but it is the only one to use the UMPC moniker.

What do you think? Would F@N be the perfect UMPC for you?

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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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3 thoughts on “F@N: Fan-like UMPC announced as finalist in design competition

  • MS is loosing touch with reality. The UMPC’s have been a big failure due to their influencing how the hardware should look like and the OEM’s are like little sheep too scared to be creative. MS get a clue you made full windows and everyone whom uses full windows does so with a touch type keyboard. That is what UMPC’s need. We already have a laptop so what other shape would sell? A jacket size clamshell, anything larger that would not fit in a jacket pocket would not sell against a laptop.

    While that pic is cool that would never sell.

  • I think the three screens is dumb. I would rather see it a clamshell and also it should be more like 7″ in length with no wasted space so that the touch type keyboard uses every single milimeter to make it easy to input.

    Reminds me of fashion designs, they win an award but nobody would want to wear them. The same goes for the less creative UMPC’s so far, cool for geeks but normal people want it coat size and with a real keyboard.

  • Art sounds REMARKABLY like Al. 7″, real kb, coat, clamshell, posting the same comments on every review … And both have short names that start with “A”. What a coincidence!

    Maybe they should pool their impressive brainpower, get some venture capital funding, and show all these idiot companies how it’s done!


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