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Jewish World Review
Oct. 10, 2008
/ 11 Tishrei 5769
Samsung's curious ultra-portable
With good, serviceable laptop computers costing between $700 and $1,000, why spend
about $1,300 for Samsung's Q1-UP01? Well, it's not because the Samsung unit has a
Instead, it's because the Q1, as I'll call it here, is an Ultra-Mobile PC, a
seven-inch display wonder that'll improve your mobile computing experience. Unless
you like lifting weights, having a full-powered PC in a 2-pound package is a nice
The computer, available mostly via mail order, is available with Microsoft's Windows
Vista operating system; my test unit arrived with the Tablet version of Windows XP
installed. It sports a 1.33 GHz Intel single-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, and an 80
GB hard disk drive. The display offers 1024 by 600 pixel resolution, which is rather
clear and sharp in use.
There are three possible keyboards for the Samsung Q1. The first is built in to the
sides framing the display: if you use a BlackBerry or other communicator you (and
your thumbs) will feel at home typing with this. The second is an on-screen keyboard
which works with the Tablet version of Windows.
The third is an option, an add-on keyboard which plugs into the USB port on the
right hand side of the machine. Coupled with a fold-out, stand-up carrying case,
you've got a a very nice, workable portable computing solution for road warriors and
others in specific applications.
For example, I could see the Q1 being used in many medical office and hospital
applications, by people working on route sales and other mobile applications. Such
users might not need the separate keyboard, and can happily get by with the built-in
keyboard and the stylus.
Moreover, this could be a potential executive computer, again when configured with
the separate keyboard and carrying case. Its sleek appearance will be enough to
turn heads, and the built-in Wi-Fi will let those executives log in to the corporate
e-mail from hotspots across the globe.
In fact, the Samsung Q1 reminds me of nothing as much as it reminds me of Apple
Inc.'s ill-fated Newton, also a small, portable device to which an external keyboard
could be attached. The Newton also had a stylus-friendly screen, but
was¬ monochrome¬ and didn't have as wide a range of programs as a Windows computer
But I digress: the Newton didn't accomplish as much in the market as it might have
and is found only on eBay these days. The Samsung Q1 shows no signs of going away;
the category of Ultra-Mobile PCs is one Microsoft, and the hardware companies
supporting it, is one they've said is important.
Indeed, having a variety of computing platforms for a given operating system is, I
believe, going to do a lot for the continuation and growth of those operating
systems currently in the marketplace. Apple is doing this, in a very real sense,
with the iPhone, which gets many of its features from Mac OS X. The UMPC class of
devices run Windows XP Tablet or Windows Vista and has those systems' strengths (and
weaknesses) as well.
Is this the platform for you? Maybe. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this as your
primary computer: there's an external monitor port, yes, but you might want more
horsepower in a desktop computer. But for many road warrior types, this is a nifty
device that offers a fair amount of power in a small, convenient package.
One might have wanted to see similar devices to this earlier in Windows' life cycle,
but it's nice to have the UMPC option now. Coupled with a nice range of accessories,
the Samsung Q1 can be an excellent traveling companion.
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JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2008, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com