CeBIT 2007: Samsung’s Next Generation UMPC

Suggestions the format's difficult birth may be well behind it...

So we’re off! CeBIT 2007 is officially up and running and – pleasantly mild weather aside – manic as usual. Day one brings an unusual headline grabber: Samsung’s ‘Q1 Ultra’ UMPC.

Of course if you read my show preview this may not be entirely surprising since I stated the event would be dominated by the ‘second generation device’: a theme whereby HD DVD, Blu-ray and the UMPC – released with much fan fare in 2006 – would finally target the mass market. This is when a format ultimately sinks or swims and, surprisingly, the much derided UMPC now looks to have a strong front crawl.

Unveiled to a packed convention hall, the ‘Q1 Ultra’ (the official name for the leaked Q2) made impressive improvements on the mediocre Q1. Samsung firmed up what we already knew: 7in WSVGA (1,204 x 600) touch screen, Vista operating system, WiBRRO, HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.0, wireless b/g, Ethernet, dual camera (1.3MP and VGA for video calls), finger print reader.

It also told us things we didn’t: a complete Aero experience, reduced weight (690g verses the Q1’s 780g), more compact dimensions (227.5 x 123.9 x 22.9mm), increased screen brightness (from 200 nits to 300 nits), 1GB DDR2 RAM and – vitally – a boosted battery life which guarantees a minimum of four hours heavy use and up to 10 hours using an extended battery.

Sadly, it wouldn’t give away which Intel CPU was at its hub (though Intel EMEA Sales VP, Christian Morales, claimed it consumed less than half the Q1’s Celeron M ULV – so we expect more on this later) or what hopped up graphics gave such a mobile package Aero capability. A price tag was also lacking.

In much the same way a father shuns a rogue son, Samsung then briefly wheeled out the ‘Q1P’. Described, rather frankly, by one company rep as a ‘basic facelift’, the upgraded Q1 will still ship with Windows XP as default but an Aero-less Vista option is available. A faster 1GHz Pentium M CPU is onboard while battery life is up to a potential six hours thanks to an optional six-cell battery, screen brightness gets a boost to 280 nits and there’s 1GB RAM. It was then quickly pushed back out of sight.

Right, that’s one company of over 3,000 ”partially” covered. Time to get back out there…

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