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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cool Gear: Ultramobile Computers

Take your digital darkroom just about anywhere with this new breed of portables

Cool Gear: Ultramobile Computers

The future of computing is looking very portable. In March, Microsoft, Intel and some other high-profile consumer electronics companies announced a new platform for portable computing, the "Ultra Mobile PC," or UMPC for acronym enthusiasts. A handheld computer running Windows XP sounded like a great idea, but one that would probably not materialize as a real product for some time.

So I was happily surprised when Samsung (www.samsungusa.com) officially launched its new Q1 at the beginning of May. It's already available online for $1,099 at Best Buy and CDW, and will show up in retail stores this summer.

The Samsung Q1 runs a full version of Windows XP Tablet edition that, along with an Intel Celeron M processor, powers this touchscreen computer. Measuring just 9.0x5.5x1.0 inches and weighing in at less than two pounds, it really is ultramobile. The seven-inch widescreen display, while small for serious photo enhancement, is still big enough to get basic imaging work done, and it's a terrific solution for downloading, organizing, e-mailing and uploading photos on the go.

A 40 GB hard drive gives you plenty of space for applications and photo storage. There are two USB ports and a CompactFlash card slot built in, so you can easily connect your camera directly to the Q1, or just slip in your memory card. And because it's running Windows XP, you can use all of your favorite applications, just as you do on your home or notebook computer.


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