everyone's going crazy over the Ultra-Mobile PC
(UMPC), the new class of handheld devices that run Windows XP and are supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread
(sliced bread with two and a
half hours of battery life, but that's a different story). I don't know what all the hype is about, really. My
Apple Newton 2100, which was discontinued about a decade ago, does just about everything else a UMPC does, and has a
similar form factor. Let's do a modest feature comparison. According to Microsoft, a UMPC boasts:
- A touch screen. My Newton does as well. Check.
- WiFi connectivity. Using the drivers written by Hiroshi Noguchi and any 5 volt Lucent/Orinoco/Agere WaveLAN, I can connect to an 802.11b access point for internet (using either the NewtScape or Net Hopper browsers), email (with SimpleMail), IM (over jabber with NewtJabber), blogging (with nBlog) and web hosting (with NPDS. Go here to check out a few live Newton web servers). Check.
- Bluetooth connectivity. With a compatible card and the Blunt driver, I'm exchanging/synchronizing data with my desktop Mac and enjoying wireless printing from my Newt. Check.
- A good sized hard drive. Ok, the UMPC has me beat, but with Paul Guyot's ATA Harddisk/Flashcard drivers, I can have a few gigs of storage space available to me. Check.
- Digital music. MAD Newton lets me store and play Mp3's. Heck, I
can even stream internet radio and download music directly to my Newt from
iTunes 3. Check.
- Movies on the go. Well, I can watch The Simpsons and South Park on my Newt. Check.
- Customizable wallpaper. Thanks to Avi's Backdrop, I have a picture of my daughter as my Newton's "wallpaper," and there's a slew of other images I can choose from. Check.
- Word Processing/Spreadsheet apps. Newtonworks. Check.
- An optional,
external keyboard. Check.
In fact, I'll say "good luck" to anyone trying to enter information onto a UMPC without the keyboard, while
the 2100's handwriting recognition is great.
- A weight of about two pounds. Check.
- A 7" diagonal display. Actually, the Newt's display can rotate to either landscape or portrait. Double check.
- Entertainment. Well, I can play games and read books, plus all of the other stuff I mentioned. So, check.
- Plays nice with both Windows and Apple desktops. Ooh, sorry! This one appears to be Newton only. Now how did that get on the list?
Note: This is all a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun, folks.