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Samsung Origami device makes US debut

Q1 will hit UK shores soon

Samsung said yesterday that its Q1 Windows-based ultramobile PC is available online through hardware reseller CDW Corp.

The Q1 will retail for $1,099 (about £600) in the US, which is slightly higher than the target price named by Microsoft in March. Microsoft collaborated with Intel to create the Origami platform, on which the Q1 and other ultramobile PC devices are based. The price of the Q1 in the UK is expected to be £799 including VAT.

The Q1 also was made available in South Korea on Monday for 1,199,000 won (about £700).

Origami machines run a tablet version of the Windows XP OS (operating system) and are aimed at a market niche between laptop PCs and PDAs. The devices allow users to browse the internet, listen to music, view films and other video entertainment, play games and 'write' notes much as they can on a Microsoft Tablet PC device.

It took some thinking to come up with a hybrid version of Windows that marries features from the mobile and desktop versions of the OS, said Bill Mitchell, corporate vice-president of the mobile platforms division at Microsoft.

"You can't take Windows, plunk it down on a small form factor and call it a day," he said, speaking at the launch event."The first step was to make Windows appropriate for this size."

Microsoft is already running the next version of Windows, Vista, on ultramobile PCs in the labs, and will be working in the future to bring to the devices some of the new features Vista will bring to PCs, Mitchell said.

Samsung's Q1 has a 7in LCD monitor with touchscreen functionality and is about half the size of an average laptop PC. At 779g it is also lighter, and it's less than an inch thick. Its battery life is about three hours.

Joe Wilcox, an analyst with Jupiter Research, said the pricing of the Q1 is a little high for mainstream consumers to add it to their cache of digital devices right away. But he said Samsung and its partners have put a lot of effort into making the new ultramobile PC stylish and innovative, and added that it is worth the price tag if someone wants to carry only one device instead of both a PC and a PDA.

"At $1,100 it's not for everyone," Wilcox said. "But for the folks that pay, they'll get a 'wow' experience."

Other companies that plan to offer ultramobile PC devices include Taiwan's Asus, and a company tied to China's Founder Group.

Look out for a review of the Q1 in the July issue of PC Advisor, available from 18 May.

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