Microsoft development manager Vikram Madan spoke this week at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Los Angeles about what the company is considering for the ultra-mobile PC 2.0 experience. Madan said Microsoft hopes to somehow reduce the cost of the UMPC to the $499 to $599 range, down from roughly $600 to $1000. How this will be done with better specifications is unclear.
Madan mentioned both 7- and 5-inch screens, a resolution bump from the old 800x480 resolution to 1024x600 as well as hints to use LED backlighting for the screens to reduce power consumption and bump battery life to three to four hours. The new wave of UMPCs will probably also be thinner (between 18 and 20mm) and weigh less than 1.5 pounds. New proposed features include WiMAX and WWAN to its current WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. A QWERTY keyboard may also be added to the spec, which currently only has touchscreen/stylus-based controls. The UMPC may also get bumped to 1GB of RAM minimum (currently the minimum is 512MB) and have support for DirectX 9 graphics and above.
Microsoft still has faith in the Origami UMPC concept despite the fact that it hasn't quite made the splash they had hoped for when it was introduced last year. Early adopters criticized the devices for having too low a battery life and being too expensive for what they delivered. Origami 2.0 could be a lot more appealing to the masses than its predecessor, if the proposed price tag and feature relationship holds true.
News source: Ars Technica