Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a weekly column about the future of technology, multimedia, and
But, wait. That could leave an unacceptable seven minutes and 34 seconds during waking hours when you don't have a Windows license at your wallet-handling fingertips. What about all the times when a 2-pound ultraportable notebook is too much but a PDA isn't enough? If the year-old Origami video preceding the release of the Ultra Mobile PC from Microsoft and Intel is any indication, there aren't too many of them. The anonymous hipsters in the video seem to have nothing better to do in their vapid digital lifestyles than send cameraphone pictures to each other and shop for trendy clothes and accessories – presumably those with pockets large enough to conceal what is either the most ungainly MP3 player or most expensive Etch-a-Sketch ever. How can they even hope to bring their MySpace sites to new levels of incomprehensibility without a keyboard?
Specifically, UMPC also continues Microsoft's inexplicable obsession to foist some kind of tablet-based product into consumers' hands even after the stunted growth of Pocket PC, the slow penetration of the highly touted Tablet PC (Microsoft's most hyped hardware platform ever), and the abysmal disaster of Smart Displays.