A couple of months ago I finally took the plunge and got a new toy - a Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) running Windows Vista.
I'd been looking for a better solution for a lightweight device that was easy to take on the road with me but that would do a better job of email than my phone, and could also connect to the corporate network and allow me to demonstrate Silverlight apps and other things that I often need to do when I'm out of the office.
As a bonus I wanted something that I could use to read ebooks and catch up on RSS feeds as well as email, but I didn't want to have to carry a whole slew of devices.
The tipping point that got me to go and get one wasn't a huge frustration with the current tools I had available but rather a sneak preview of the next generation of the Origami Experience that was announced yesterday at CES.
While the original was pretty good the integrated RSS reader in the new version was enough to push me over the edge. The added bonus of the Picture Password app helped clinch the deal as I'm not convinced fingerprints are the way to go and hated the thought of entering my password on the Q1U's dinky little keyboard.
While I love the Q1U I think it's a second generation device of a platform that's going to need to get to third or maybe fourth to be really fantastic.
The complaints aren't big things, it's mostly down to horsepower and stamina.
My machine is configured with Vista and, as everyone knows, it does take more resources to run smoothly. The fairly low spec CPU does an okay job of basic apps but in conjunction with only 1GB of RAM and a 4800rpm HDD it's quite easy to get it thrashing. I'm wondering if I dare brave opening the case up and trying to fit extra RAM and/or upgrade to a SSD... maybe one day!
Even with the underpowered processor the battery life isn't stellar. I suspect a lot of that might be (ironically) down to the disk thrashing that goes on but I'm starting to think I need a bigger battery.
My other gripe is the keyboard. Although it seems like a great idea the keys are actually harder to use than on my Wizard - I'd much prefer a slide-out keyboard or similar (in fact I think I'll end up getting a fold-up bluetooth keyboard... which will drain the battery as well!).
That does lead me on the the hidden peril of UMPCs.... on their own they are small and lightweight, but throw the power brick, and a spare keyboard and maybe a mouse and a USB hub and whatever else into the bag as well and it does take up a fair about of packing room!
That said, the Origami Experience is pretty fantastic and inking in Vista opens up a whole new dimension in ways to get things done.
Hopefully with the interest that Nokia, Intel and Cononical (Moblin project), and even apparently Apple are showing in this space we're going to see rapid steps to the next generation of devices.
For now if you're thinking about a UMPC I recommend checking out sites like jkOnTheRun, UberTablet or UMPC Buzz as well as the Origami Project site.