Ultra Mobile PC

Why Trust Techopedia

What Does Ultra Mobile PC Mean?

Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) is a small handheld computer with the capacity to run the Windows operating system (OS). Although it is closer to the size of a palmtop than a laptop, an Ultra Mobile PC provides more functionality than a palmtop.


Techopedia Explains Ultra Mobile PC

Microsoft established baseline UMPC specifications, as follows:

  • Screen size: 5-7 inches
  • Screen resolution: 800×480 minimum
  • Weight: No more than 2 pounds
  • Display orientation: Portrait or landscape
  • Battery life: No less than 2.5 hours
  • Standard input method: Touchscreen or stylus

In 2006, the UMPC was launched as a collaborative effort between Microsoft, Intel, Samsung and several other manufacturers. However, the project was only known by its codename, "Project Origami," prior to its introduction that year at the CeBIT expo in Hanover, Germany. Following this, the first two UMPC devices launched were the Samsung Q1 and the Amtek T700.

Initial versions of this device type were simple PCs that ran on Linux or a modified version of Microsoft’s OS for tablets. First-generation UMPCs only offered a battery life of two to three hours, an issue immediately addressed by developers. By the time the second UMPC batch was introduced, these devices were designed to consume less electricity, significantly improving battery life.

Over the last few years, other manufacturers like TabletKiosk, OQO and Wibrain have released UMPC devices with better capabilities. The latest generation UMPCs feature up to 2GB of random access memory (RAM) and 160 GB hard drive, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi/3G connectivity and sufficient processing power to support Internet browsing, as well as video, audio and gaming activities.

Even with improved specs, however, the UMPC category is quickly losing its market in favor of popular tablet devices.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.