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Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC)

Definition - What does Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) 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 (UMPC)

Microsoft established baseline UMPC specifications, as follows:
  • Screen size: 5-7 inches
  • Screen resolution: 800x480 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.

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