Ultra-Mobile PCs
Editor's Favorites

Tuesday seemed to bring bigger crowds to the Las Vegas Convention Center.  It was harder to get around the aisles. This made it a bit harder to get around, but I still managed to talk to several vendors. Today, I concentrated on some products just a bit outside of Tablet PCs, but things that could be used with them.

First off, I had a meeting with Pinnacle Studios.  You may be familiar with their great photo and video editing software, but there are some new products that you may want to check out. 

First there's news about their free product - Pinnacle VideoSpin.  I'm not a videographer or very talented when it comes to putting photo presentations together.  This will change all that.  This software is so easy to use that within just a few minutes, we had a great presentation put together from some of our photos taken on our recent Hawaii vacation.  My husband has been having a great time putting different things together with VideoSpin.

Pinnacle Studio Ultimate is the crown jewel of the Pinnacle Studio editing software. There are so many features here that you'll need to check out the link for yourself.

Then (and this is one of my favorites) Pinnacle Video Transfer.  You can transfer TV shows and data from almost any device to almost any storage device WITHOUT a PC.  This is a true timesaver. I'll be doing a review on this as soon as I can test it out.

The other item that I love with Tablets is the PCTV HD Ultimate Stick.  This is a great portable unit that's the perfect pair to a Tablet/UMPC.  Now, watch TV, even HD TV anywhere you can pick up an over the air signal.  I've been using the predecessor to this and love it.

After Pinnacle's appointment, I headed over to Allen Sports to get some more information on the Wayfinder Navigator GPS for phones and PDAs. I received a review unit shortly before I left for CES.  We all want portability, but carrying several devices rather than one larger one isn't my idea of the best way to do things.  The Waysider Navigator loads up on my Smartphone and works well without carrying an extra device.  Using Bluetooth, it offers voice instructions for turn-by-turn directions, a 3-D night mode and 3-D maps so you can follow from a street-level or birds-eye view.  This is a good device for simple mapping, especially when on foot or a bicycle.

Next up was a one-on-one meeting with HP's Kevin Wentzel and Tom Augenthaler.  Although I'd already done the review on HP's new tx2000, we had a very good conversation about what works and what could still be improved.  It's so refreshing to have a company willing to listen to its customers and try to incorporate their suggestions in a new product. Let's hope others follow HP's lead.

I had received an invitation to check out some new UMPCs from Qualcomm.  My curiosity got me and I decided to see what they had.  Although they have some interesting devices, they weren't in what we consider a UMPC, although they were definitely ultra-mobile.

To my delight, Fujitsu managed to squeeze me into their schedule. Although there had been several emails between us, it seems that nothing was ever finalized (my fault, not theirs).  Wendy Grubow was most helpful in getting me in to get a really good look at the tiny U810 Tablet PC.  I'd first seen this in it's Japanese form this past summer and was immediately captivated.  I've been wanting one ever since, especially for traveling.  Although the keyboard is way too small for most people to type on comfortably, it is a keyboard and the U810 runs Windows Vista.  The photo is of the unit I saw when it was still a U1010.

Imagine my surprise when I heard a knock on my door just 3 days later to find a U810 delivered.  So far, other than being slower than my other Tablets due to the less-powerful CPU, this Tablet definitely hasn't disappointed.  I'll be doing a full review on it shortly, so watch for it.

Right after this appointment, I headed over to the Cheeseburger-Las Vegas in the Planet Hollywood (formerly Alladin) Hotel for the annual Tablet PC get-together. 

Many of us also got the first look at the new Mobile Demand ruggedized Tablet PC as well as Tablet Kiosks various machines.  One that really caught my attention was the 'modular' Tablet PC, based on the Sahara series.  Now, you'll be able to select more options in a Tablet and just plug them in.

This year had a record number of giveaways, including 4 Tablets.  I thought it great that someone from a medical school won Motion Computing's C5.  It was a perfect match!  Thanks to all the vendors who participated. Your generosity is appreciated very much.

As always, the company and the food were great.  If you missed this one, don't miss next year's!  You could have a new Tablet, too.

Monday at CES was pretty much as expected, lots of people and lots of things to see.  Inside the Microsoft area were several Tablet PC vendors.  It was nice to re-connect with them.  Microsoft's Surface technology area was always packed with people.  No matter where that team goes, the crowds show up.  Surface is one of the most amazing products I've ever seen.  I can only imagine the possibilities that this will open up in the future.  Touch technology is going to change the way we do everyday things - everywhere.

I spoke with many, many vendors yesterday, but there were a few highlights.  One of the companies I visited was a familiar name that I hadn't heard much about lately - iriver.  Although not Tablet PC related, it's still all about portability.  I have an iriver Clix that I've been using when traveling.  The size and weight are minimal so I can drop it in my purse and never know it's there.  Now, the iriver Clix+ has added an AMOLED screen that allows viewing from any angle. 

More related to Tablets was the Wing, a network device that will allow network browsing, instant messaging and VOIP phone support in one of the smallest form factors I've seen.

Lots of the CES fun is finding something you weren't expecting.  This happened on the way to one appointment.  Walking by, I spotted a display case with UMPCs.  I'm ready to try this one out when it's available, hopefully by summer. The size is perfect and the price I was told is getting closer to the original UMPC target price.  Sporting a 1.86GHz Intel Menlo processor and up to gig of ram, this could be a big player in the UMPC field.

Samsung was showing off its newest UMPC, the Q1 Ultra Extreme.  The resolution on it was excellent, and gave a lot more screen real estate for those who can read the smaller print.  I use a high resolution, so it was good to see that there's a UMPC that can handle it.  The new keyboard layout gives slightly larger keys and a much better feel.

After the show, we hurried over to ShowStoppers for a quick look around before heading to Roy's Restaurant for a Featured Community get-together.  I connected with Les Goldberg again from D-Link.  They've added several new products to their great networking line.  I'm anxious to get my hands on a few items to review.

If you've never had the opportunity to enjoy a meal at Roy's Restaurant, try it as soon as you can.  Microsoft Windows Communication Team hosted a dinner that had to be eaten to be believed.  The service was outstanding, the company even better.  Hawaiian fusion food is anything but fish and poi.  Thanks for having us, Microsoft.

Sunday night we attended Pepcom's Digital Experience.  This show is getting larger and larger and it's no surprise!  This is one of my favorite shows of the year.  It's a mini-CES for press and this year was as good as it ever was.  I love seeing and learning about all the new products that we'll be seeing in the near future, as well as concepts and getting my hands on products that we've heard about but never seen.

Pepcom's theme this year was a 'Tailgate Party.'  The night went so fast that I didn't get a chance to enjoy the food this year, but their martini ice bar (this year there were two) is always fun.  Decked out with LSU and Ohio State logos and displays, the rivalry between the two for the BCS championship started a few conversations in the lines for the drinks.

This year, Pepcom had a much larger ballroom and the vendors filled it.  My only complaint was that there wasn't enough time to talk to all the ones I was hoping to see, but I'm sure those behind the tables thought the time was long enough.  They were swamped the entire evening.

Many Tablet PC and UMPC vendors were there, including HP (see our latest review on the new tx2000), Fujitsu, Samsung and Lenovo among others.  I'm looking forward to my meetings with other Tablet vendors who are attending CES this week.

HTC is getting closer and closer to getting us what we've all been asking for - a portable computer that will be light, have excellent battery life and inexpensive.

Lenovo caught my eye with one of their new notebooks.  Although it's not a Tablet PC (the x61 was prominently on display, though), this is one of the coolest notebooks I've seen.  It's full-size and weighs in at way less than 3 pounds.  It's also a great-looking machine, with design features that are unique.  More on this as I get a unit to review.

I was a bit disappointed not to see Dell's Tablet available, but as this is a consumer show and Dell is marketing the Tablet as a business computer, I can understand.  I'm glad I had the opportunity to view it and try it out at TechEd in Barcelona.  I think Dell's entering the market is going to show the skeptics that Tablets are going to be around for quite some time.

CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas beginnings are always very exciting.  Today, several people were invited to see some of the new products by Microsoft and its partners.  You'll hear more about this soon.  The highlight was that we were there the same time as Bill Gates.  Can you even imagine what the world would be like today without the vision that he had as a very young man?

Another big highlight of my week so far was that I got my hands on the just-announced HP Pavilion Entertainment tx2000, the successor to the tx1000.  There are so many improvements that it's hard to believe that the two machines are related.  See our review here and specifications hereWe've also added the specs to our comparison charts.



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Last Updated: December 23, 2008

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