High prices and low battery life are key concerns for companies trying to sell handheld PCs based on Microsoft's Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) platform, staff at one of those manufacturers told vnunet.com today.
The UMPC, as specified by Microsoft, is a flat, handheld device midway in size between a smartphone or PDA and a notebook PC. It has a touch-sensitive screen, but no keyboard.
Criticism of early UMPCs has focused on high prices, poor battery life, and excessive weight and heat. The same criticisms have bedevilled past attempts at similar handheld PC concepts.
An AMtek representative, who did not wish to be named, conceded that manufacturers are concerned.
A major problem is that users are comparing UMPCs with what seems to them the most similar existing product, the notebook PC.
"The price is quite high if you compare it to a notebook," the representative admitted. Battery life, at two to two-and-a-half hours, is also unsatisfactory, he added.
AMtek's T700 UMPC should sell for around $800 to $900. The 850g product has a 1GHz VIA C7M low-voltage CPU, 512MB of memory, and a 800 x 480 pixel 7in LCD display.
AMtek manufactures the T700 in China and sells it to overseas distributors which re-brand it as their own product.
A relative unknown like AMTek might appear out of its depth facing much larger competitors like Samsung and Asustek in the UMPC market.
However, staff said that AMtek's Singaporean parent firm is in fact one of the world's largest manufacturers of notebook PC chassis, with approximately 25 per cent of the market.
The company therefore has the background and manufacturing know-how to succeed despite the competition, according to the company.
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