So we just unwrapped the first UMPC (Ultra Mobile Personal Computer) in our office and here are some photos and an initial review …

WOW! This thing is sooooooooo light.

Samsung Q1 package contents

Here is what the package contains …
The device itself, a battery, wrist-cord (good!), power adapter, usb cable, software CDs and some slim setup/start guides. Looks like they know their target audience, so no wasting resources on teaching people about their “first computer”. The simple sleeve case can be seen under the device. It’s like the one that comes with the PSP. Also included is a nice screen wipe cloth. Case and cloth not as cool as the ones that came with my PSP, but useful nonetheless.

Samsung Q1 package contents

The device battery came with about 97% charge. Thats a good thing for impatient types like me.
Together with the buttons, the sleek black finish and device size … it’s like a bigger version of my PSP. Obviously the Samsung engineers took many design cues from the Sony. Thats always a good thing.
(Might be they should have added some A/B buttons for intense gameplay, while at it!)

Samsung Q1 package contents

Please, please let me call it the Origami (or Q1) from here on … who on earth changed that to the UMPC anyways?
Stupid idea, if you ask me.

Click on if you want to read more details …

A comment about the initial bootup …
I know it must be the Windows Tablet PC software’s fault … these initial screens always show the stupid keyboard that cannot be hidden.
I mean, there is no minimize button, and the keyboard will also not go away on one side of the screen or in the background. If you try to drag it to the right or bottom, it comes back so that all of it is visible, covering any important buttons/information. (as you can see in the above photo).
For the first time in my life did I not go the Custom options route with Windows XP setup. I got tired and just clicked the “enter” button on the side of the Q1 and skipped all the screens.
Did I do something wrong? Was there an easier way to have hidden that keyboard?
Mind you, I’m not talking of the regular tablet pc input panel that shows up on the windows desktop, but the initial keyboard that you can also see in the login screen.
Yup … when it comes time to login using the user selection screen, the keyboard is still always there. No way to hide or close it. On my X41 tablet, there is enough screen space so it’s not a problem … but on this Origami’s screen … it’s a pain.

Enough ranting … right now … I’m in a happy mood … the Origami is a fun device, and it shows in the hardware design as well as the choice of software it comes preinstalled with.

DialKeys software included on the Q1 already looks easy for text input (yes, I still have to try ritePen, I know).

The fact that the Origami allows you to touch the screen with your fingers and move the mouse pointer (unlike a real tablet PC, that needs a specialized digitizer pen) is cool. But it’s a pain when trying write something using the included stylus (it’s just a piece of plastic) on Windows Journal. Should it follow the bottom of my palm resting on the screen or the stylus I am holding when it comes time to write/draw on the screen?

The hold button, dedicated volume controls, the flip-stands all work towards making this a better personal media player (PMP). One really nifty feature … I can boot it into Windows or the AVStation Now software. In the AVNow mode, it actually boots into some form of light-weight windows and you get to see a audio/video oriented display much like Windows Media Center with simple options for Music, Photos, Movie and Settings.
When you select any of the options, it shows you a file-explorer like screen that you use to search for and select media.
(One security concern: I could use this media explorer to go through any directory on the hard-drive. I’m sure it isn’t a problem because you cannot really open documents … but others can basically see where you keep what on your hard-drive.)

I still have to use the Origami with a bluetooth GPS to see how well it handles that load. But i’m already feeling positive.

The Origami with Windows Tablet PC actually seems faster than my IBM X41 Tablet PC when comparing factory default settings and boot times. Shows how bloated the X41 really was.

I’ll discuss these and more items in further detail after a weekend or so of working on the device.


Some important points about the Q1 and me …

Q: Why do I have the UMPC?

A: Honestly, every device I buy needs to have a keyboard, I am just much much faster on a keyboard than with a stylus or voice recognition. So why the Q1?

I am testing UMPCs for a client who is looking to mobilize his salespeople to get better closing ratios, provide better on-site customer service as well as make his company a better place to work at. They want to see if they should install our software on regular Tablet PC’s or UMPCs.

These sales people are always going to be on the move … an hour or so at each customer’s home/office, then back in the car and on the road. While on-site, they will be walking around and taking measurements and doing some basic data entry for about 5-6 hours a day. So weight is an important consideration.

Q: What are the base requirements for our clients?

A: They need devices that are light-weight, run some form of Windows XP, can be quickly stowed in a bag or carrying case and provide good readibility outdoors (not really direct sunlight, but standing around people’s homes, under ledges, under trees, etc).

Q: So, at the first glance, how does the Q1 score?

Weight 10 on 10
Size 10 on 10
Windows XP compatibility 10 on 10
Outdoor readability of screen 7 on 10
Battery Life 2 on 10
Cost $$$ 5 on 10

A: Also, the data entry possibilities need to be further tested before I can recommend UMPC’s to my customers. I heard that Samsung will be bundling the keyboard with the UMPC for no extra charge … that might help things.

Samsung Q1