Steve over at the CarryPad blog has had another attempt at making the case for calling all small computers Ultra Mobile PCs.
I think the most important point of my last post on this subject was missed, so Ill repeat it here.
At the end of the day, however, it does not matter where we draw the lines in the sand or what labels we use. What is important is that we understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of devices so we can help people get the right device for their unique set of needs.
We have a real problem with confusing terminology here. Let me be crystal clear on this next point Steve, and others like him, did not cause this problem. Microsoft did.
Microsoft dont make the hardware in question they just write some software for them. The problem is that they chose a name that is a description and there are plenty of devices that fit that description that do not run the touchpack software.
Imagine MS wrote some software for cars. They would allow car-makers to distribute cars with the software, provided these cars met certain requirements - including being red. Imagine that this all happens under the banner of a project team and the codename for the project has nothing at all to do with red cars, Project Haiku.
Of course before Haiku ever becomes public there are cars on the road that are red lots of them. And some of those meet some or all of the other requirements of Project Haiku.
Ok, so Haiku matures and as part of the launch the project Haiku name is used to hype things up. Then the big announcement Haiku devices are really Very Red Cars! VRCs are a type of car running MSs new software.
But wait a minute, there are lots of very red cars already on the market that dont run MSs software. Instant confusion. Stupid, right? Well thats exactly the situation we are now in with Origami and UMPC and the confusion will likely get worse before it gets better.
I cant fix that and, frankly I dont care enough to try. What I do care about is having people who read my blog be dear about which devices I am and am not talking about in each post. What Steves posts have convinced me of is that UMPC is a universally bad term to use if you are hoping to achieve clarity.
IMO it would have been easier for all concerned if MS had just stuck with Origami! Unfortunately I cant fix that either. What I can fix is the terminology I use. Scratch my statement from my previous post::
When I use the term UMPC I mean something running the touch pack. I use the term Ultra Portable to describe other devices like the LS800.
From this point on I am going to avoid using the term UMPC at all. For devices running the MS touchpack Im going to revert to the term Origami. For other really small computing devices In going to stick with the term Ultra-portable.
As to Steves original call for a definition for UMPC that we can all agree on can I suggest this:
A product category name used by Microsoft that caused a great deal of confusion in the marketplace.