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Sony joins the growing UMPC crowd

Microsoft and Intel announced the new Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) form-factor back in March with the aim to bring full Windows XP (and later Windows Vista) functionality to a handheld, tablet-based devices. Over the past few months, we've seen UMPC devices from Asus, Samsung, ECS, DualCor and TabletKiosk. Today, we can add a new player to the game: Sony.  Here's the real kicker though, Sony claims the whole ultraportable weighs in at just 1.2lbs.

Rather than just enter the fray with a cookie-cutter "been there, done that" design with its new VAIO UX, Sony has decided to spice things up a bit. While all previously displayed UMPCs make do with a stylus for input as well as a somewhat awkward on-screen keyboard, the VAIO UX features a dedicated sliding keyboard for quicker data entry in addition to the traditional stylus. The VAIO UX also comes with a "touch launcher" which gives users quick access to oft used functions like email and music.

On the hardware side of things, the one-pound unit packs an Intel ULV Core Solo processor, 4.5" SVGA (1024x600) touch sensitive LCD with XBRITE technology, three USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, VGA, Firewire, WiFi, Bluetooth and WWAN (compatible with Cingular's EDGE wireless network). And the VAIO UX features not one, but two built-in cameras. The one located on the front of the device is for VOIP communication and video conferencing while the camera on the back of the unit is used to take pictures. Security is handled by an integrated biometric fingerprint scanner and G-Sensor technology is used to protect the VAIO UX's 30GB hard drive in the event of an unfortunate fall.

The UX is built around an Intel Core Solo U1400 processor running at 1.2GHz with 2MB L2 cache.  Sony has managed to cram an Intel 945GMS chipset into the device with 512MB of 400MHz DDR2.  Intel's GMA950 provides all of the graphics, and uses up 128MB of the system memory when needed.  Sony claims the entire devices runs on a mere 41W during normal operation, giving the unit up to 4.5 hours per battery charge.

That's quite a lot of features packed into a pint-sized package and Sony seems to be quite proud of their new baby. “This model is an achievement in ingenious design. With this pocket PC, you can have the same functionality as your office or home PC in a device that fits in the palm of your hand,” said Mike Abary, vice president of VAIO product marketing at Sony Electronics in the U.S.

For those of you intrigued by Sony's new VAIO, the ticket price is $1,800 and the show begins in July of this year.  You can preorder the unit from SonyStyle right now.



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Who is the Target Market?
By KidDoc on 5/16/2006 12:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I must be the target market - a doctor who needs to have something that will fit in a lab coat pocket that will allow him to access medical records, orders, and radiology/lab results (plus a gadget geek). Anyone want to buy a slightly used OQO 01+ Tablet?




RE: Who is the Target Market?
By akouzmit on 6/16/2006 6:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
I am also considering myself as UMPC user.
One application I'd like to use it is watching my house remotly through IP controlled Tilt/Zoom camera. The current PDA I am using (DELL Axim) has limited capability for web pages with java content and I hope loaded with Windows XP UMPC is a good solution for me.


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