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Ubuntu Mobile Edition: Review
Ubuntu Mobile Edition
August 7, 2008
The mobile Internet device (MID) space is one of the fastest growing platforms with new concept designs appearing every month. Nokia was one of the earliest vendors with a product (Nokia 770) in this space to ship with a Linux operating system (OS) and continues to see solid sales with the current model 810. New concept designs come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and many sport a Linux OS.
Microsoft made a big splash a couple of years ago with their ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC) platform. These devices typically include a 7-inch touch screen, wifi and a variety of other options. Original releases of these products from companies like Asus, Samsung and TabletKiosk were based on Windows XP Tablet Edition. The latest versions with more powerful processors and more memory typically run Windows Vista.
I was able to pick up one of the original Samsung Q1s from woot.com for around $600. This model has an Intel 900 MHz Celeron processor, 512MB of memory and a 40 GB hard drive. With an extended 6-cell battery you can expect to get from 4 -- 6 hours of use from a typical usage pattern. While the Q1 XP Tablet edition combination is functional, it just seemed like it wasn't made to fit the small form factor. Installing software often produced the clipped dialog screen problem where you couldn't see the buttons at the bottom to click on them.
Another big limiting factor for these devices was cost. Most new UMPCs cost anywhere from $900 on the low end, to upwards of $1800 on the high end, and even higher for the solid state disk versions. With the introduction of the Asus Eee PC and other similar form factor, these prices are hard to justify especially when you consider the minute differences in capability.