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UK release date slips for Samsung Q1 Ultra

Samsung's next-gen UMPC not available until June

Instead, Samsung hopes to sell the 0.68kg Q1 Ultra to frequent business travellers and to users in vertical markets such as sales force automation, field surveys and education.

The Samsung Q1 Ultra uses Microsoft's "Origami" interface, offering a touchscreen version of Windows XP or Vista that allows users to perform most PC functions. These range from editing Excel spreadsheets to writing Word documents or answering email, Berg said.

Samsung said its focus groups had complained they found it too difficult to do those tasks on competing devices such as the Sony Vaio Micro PC UX, the OQO model 02 and products from FlipStart Labs, Motion Computing and Tablet Kiosk.

The Q1 Ultra uses Intel's new "McCaslin" A100 and A110 ultramobile processors instead of the power-hungry Celeron and Pentium chips used in the first-generation.

Combined with an improved type of lithium ion battery, the design extends battery life from a minimum of 1.5 hours to at least 4.5 hours, Berg said.

Previous versions of UMPCs have earned criticism for their short battery life and large size, leaving them stranded between notebooks and smartphones. But the Samsung Q1 Ultra is drawing nearer to a winning design, one analyst said.

"The technology business is littered with the corpses of initially failed ideas that came back again to be huge successes.

"I think the UMPC or some morphing of that idea will be the same thing," said Stephen Baker, vice president for industry analysis at the NPD Group.

Just as the digital cameras in mobile phones have not driven pure cameras out of the market, there may ultimately be room in the market for UMPCs as well as smartphones.

"Convergence doesn't mean you have to fit every single function on to every single device," Baker said.

In the US Samsung will sell an entry-level version of the Q1 Ultra called the Q1U-EL for $799 including a 600Mhz Intel A100 processor, 40GB hard drive and Windows Vista Home Premium. The midrange Q1U-XP version will cost $1,149 with an 800MHz A110 chip, 60GB hard drive and Windows Vista Tablet Edition. The similar Q1U-V will cost $1,199 with Windows Vista Home Premium. And the Q1U-CMW will cost $1,499 with the A110 chip, 80GB hard drive, Windows Vista Home Premium and HSDPA connectivity.

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