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athloi's Journal: Ultra-Mobile PCs rising

Journal by athloi

Tech Corner claims the Netbook uses a 900 MHz Celeron processor and would sell for around $400. This contradicts reports that the upcoming Netbooks would be using the Intel Atom Diamondville processor and fall between the $250-$300 price range. However, claims of a June 2008 launch do seem to line up with those same reports.

Is This the Intel Netbook?

$250-$300 is a smart price range, since the Asus Eee is already selling here for $320 street price. But I still don't know if I'd buy one of these fugly, cumbersome Intel boxes.

The Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC) market is heating up ever since the Asus Eee enhanced the idea of the Palm Foleo (or, for that matter, Alphasmart Dana) and made this nifty, light, clean-looking, phone-like portable with mostly full size keyboard and monitor. Intel's latest, the NetBook, misses the mark.

Setting full steam for failure, this device ignores the basic principle of industrial design: a tool's success can be measured in terms of how easily it adapts to its use. In other words, what do they users want to do that motivates them to buy one product over another? In the case of UMPCs, they want simple, fast, hassle-less access to a few basic applications (web, mail, word processing).

Intel takes another tack, which is to assume that people want a miniaturized laptop. This is a classic mistake made by someone who finds a way to describe what they see others doing, and by doing so, creates a category which has nothing to do with its actual use. We can describe the Asus Eee as a miniature laptop, but that does not describe its actual function, which is more like a portable web/text platform.

Intel misses the boat with NetBook

It's kind of like buying an Apple notebook. Do you want the fugly grey-on-black Dell that's thick, boxy and loaded with crapware, or to pay a few hundred more for a sleek white box that inspires you to think of pleasant things?

Why is it so hard for the corporates (Intel, MSFT, HP, Dell) to figure out this basic principle?

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Ultra-Mobile PCs rising

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