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Ultramobile PC: Device in Search of a Market

PCMAG reports that despite having been on the market only a few months, UMPCs (ultramobile PCs), the keyboard-less handheld computers capable of running Windows XP, have already been criticized by analysts and many reviewers.

Now they're being targeted by the likes of Sony and startup OQO, who are offering their own diminutive computers for businesses. But Microsoft and partners � the UMPC has been backed by Intel and VIA Technologies � expect to see more diversity in the UMPC space in the near term.

New manufactures will bring forth additional usage models and design improvements such as integrated, drop down keyboards and built-in wireless wide area networking, while also driving down prices.

"You'll see an additional wave of UMPCs available in the holiday timeframe," said Mika Kramer, head of the new Windows Client Mobility Marketing Team, a group within its Windows Client Product Marketing Group in Redmond, Washington. "We are seeing a lot more tier-one players get a lot more interested in releasing the UMPC."

Microsoft has been working with some of those partners to help lower prices and deliver machines in different shapes, styles and colors. There's room for designs that target women or teenagers, while others might aim for a business-oriented crowd, according to the software maker.

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