Samsung has announced two new versions of the company's Q1 Ultra UMPC. The Q1U-CMXP adds a 3G HSDPA modem, while the Q1UP-V replaces Windows XP with Vista Business. Both use Intel's 1.33GHz Core Solo U1500 processor, but in a nod to Vista's greater RAM hunger the Q1UP-V doubles standard memory to 2GB.
As solid-state drives gain popularity, we've seen a fewproducts that offer a way to retro-fit flash-based storage to your notebook, usually in the form of an adaptor that allows you to plug one or more Compact Flash cards into a traditional hard-drive socket. Steve from UMPC Portal has taken the plunge and used a Ably-Tech PA-CF18Z adaptor and a Transcend 8GB CF card with a theoretical 45MB/s transfer speed. Best of all, he's not just walked through the installation but benchmarked it against the UMPC's original performance.
Samsung is planning the third refresh of its UMPC range in Q1 2009, likely to unveil the new designs at CES in January. That's the word from Jeongseon Euh, Principal R&D Engineer in Samsung’s Computer Systems Division; in an interview with Tech Radar, Euh confirmed that the company has a 65-percent market share in the UMPC segment, and is using that lead to experiment with alternative form-factors. In terms of total sales, Samsung has shifted approximately 100,000 of the different Q1 versions worldwide.
Having some sort of built-in WWAN - like EV-DO or HSDPA - can make a world of difference if you're in dire need of an internet hit but out of range of a WiFi hotspot. However, it does mean you're at the mercy of cellular signals. Samsung Q1 Ultra owner Andyman had already stuck the miniPCI-E guts of a USB EV-DO modem into his UMPC, but was fed up of mediocre coverage when in remote locations; what better excuse to slap a great big external antenna on and enjoy full signal everywhere!
Neat-bearded Santa of tech, Walt Mossberg, has been thumbing Samsung's Q1 Ultra and come away feeling quite warm toward the little computer. Given his rather dismissive attitude toward the original Q1, the Ultra obviously had a lot to prove to Walt; to give him his due, though, he seems to have kept an open mind this time round. Unsurprisingly, it's Samsung's nod to mainstream reviewers - the split keyboard - that appears to tip the balance.
A "Littlest Hobo" for the 21st Century, our favourite curmudgeon Mike Cane has been wandering the streets and pestering people at the Samsung Experience, trying his best to coax a Q1 Ultra UMPC into falling in love with him. Turns out it's not the love affair of the year he was hoping for; if his hands-on report is anything to go by, the 800MHz unit (remember, this is the faster processor option) running Vista is a tardy, frustrating experience.
If you're the sort of person (like I am) who likes to see a bevy of high-resolution photos of a gorgeous gadget once it's been announced, you'll be generally gleeful at the news that Samsung's Q1 Ultra media gallery has gone live. With detailed photos of the full Q1 Ultra, as well as the accessories, it's calling out for a papercraft version.
After the glib sneaking of Samsung's Q1 Ultra US release in the Seattle PI comes the official press release, notable to my jaded eyes for the pleasant revelation that initial reports of $1k+ price tags aren't entirely true. The Q1 Ultra range will start at just $799 and, even better, will be sold in mainstream stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City as well as the usual online retailers.
According to the press release we're looking at 600MHz or 800MHz CPU options, with 1GB of RAM as standard together with b/g WiFi and Bluetooth 2.0 - the HSDPA modem is listed as a "factory option" with no indication of whether it will be available from launch.
The full press-release is available here [BusinessWire]
It's good news and bad for US fanciers of Samsung's slick new Q1 Ultra, with the Seattle PI giving a throwaway confirmation that the split-keyboard UMPC will be launching this week following the device's release in Australia and New Zealand last month. That's the good news; the bad is that what Samsung are releasing now might not be something you actually want to buy...
Those of you living in Australia and New Zealand will be happy to hear that you're only days away from being able to purchase a Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC. According to a press release that we received today, it will be available within the next 3 days.