Willcom D4 (Sharp WS016SH) UMPC evolution

Remember that mysterious Willcom MID prototype rotating under glass at CES 2008? The one that no one, not even the Intel representatives, knew anything about?


I think it turned into the Willcom D4 (Sharp WS016SH) UMPC! It’s also the same device alluded to in March (confirmed the following month), the one that Willcom, Microsoft, and Intel were working on rolling out in July.

Given my growing obsession with the D4, I find it rather fascinating to see how it’s evolved. It’s like the gadget equivalent of watching a baby learn to sit up, crawl, and eventually walk.


Sure, it was just a long, shiny candybar that didn’t open/slide and couldn’t be removed from its base at CES, but it’s interesting that the general form factor was already in place back then. It’s also just nice when a company follows through with its promises (ahem, MSI).

[Willcom blog (translated)]
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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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7 thoughts on “Willcom D4 (Sharp WS016SH) UMPC evolution

  • I knew that. More importantly has anyone got one yet or any prospect of getting one soon. Someone outside of Japan must of bought one. And if it is released where are the youtube videos from proud owners?

  • I placed my order for one through Conics. It’ll ship with the extended battery too! As soon as it arrives, you’ll see and read about it all over the front page.

  • Jenn,

    We can not wait to hear your review when your lucky enough to be able to test out your new D4!!! I can not tell you in words how eager I am to learn about your experience with this first of its kind form factor UMPC! I really would like to see more UMPC’s use this as their future form factor; maybe then people will finally start buy UMPC’s.

  • @ sicarius: It’s about $1500 through importers. People in Japan pay a bit less (around $1250), but they need to buy it with a 2-year data contract, which negates the savings.

  • I know this D4 is a bit pricey but the key is if it can be a good replacement when mobile so you can use that instead of dragging a bulky laptop or any other large computer around including netbooks. If it can do that then it would be worth the money. We will have to wait to see what Jenn says when she actually does a real world test drive!

  • I know you’re a huge fan of touch-typable keyboards, Al, but don’t expect to be able to truly touch-type on the D4. I think I will use the same hunt-and-peck method you can see in the Kohjinsha SC3 typing video, as I believe the D4’s keyboard is of a similar length.

    Exactly what about the D4 do you find most appealing? The combination of the unit’s jacket-pocket size and the keyboard? The form factor is nearly identical to the HTC Shift, so I’m wondering if what you don’t like about the Shift is just its overall dimensions.

  • Jenn,
    To me anything that is not small enough to carry in a jacket pocket is not very desirable as then I might as well just get a more powerful laptop or subnotebook if I am forced to carry it in some type of computer bag. To me that is the key problem with UMPC’s they are too large and more a luxury toy as they do not have a touch type keyboard nor are small enough to carry in a jacket pocket.

    yes the form factor of a clamshell is the key for me as I want something that can replace my HP Jornada 728. I know Sharp even in the HPC days made keyboards that were not that great but I would like to know how the keyboard feels. I’ve used the HP Jornada, Psion and others and got used to having my fingers touching each other slightly when touch typing on a small 7″ clamshell and was able to type about 75-80% of desktop speeds. I’d like to know if the Sharp can touch type even if it was a bit slower than the Jornada?

    All I want is a full PC version of something fuctional like a HP Jornada or Psion 5mx that has a keyboard similar and where the device can fit in a jacket pocket. That way it can replace the need of a laptop for me.


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