Samsung Intros Q1 Ultra UMPC

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Exactly one year after introducing its handheld Q1 ultra-mobile PC (UMPC), Samsung today announced the availability of its Q1 Ultra UMPC, the company’s new version of its handheld computing platform.

“Since the introduction of the Q1, Samsung has been steadfastly committed to the long-term growth and development of this fast-growing product segment,” said Christopher Franey, Samsung VP of Sales and Marketing, in a statement. “In creating the Q1 Ultra UMPC, Samsung has relied on consumer insights coupled with key technological advances to deliver a higher-performance solution packaged in an even more portable form factor that will appeal to a broader range of personal and professional users.”

The first thing UMPC fans will notice about the Q1 Ultra is its integrated split QWERTY keyboard, enabling rapid text entry with the thumbs while holding the unit in two hands. One nagging problem with UMPCs has been data entry: between touch screen, styli, and on-screen keyboards, no data entry methods really stood out as effective ways to use mainstream communications and productivity applications. Samsung hopes the Q1 Ultra’s split keyboard will help make working on UMPCs more palatable—and increase the market appeal of a platform which, so far, has yet to develop its niche.

The Q1 Ultra is built on the Intel Ultra Mobile processor running at either 600 or 800 MHz, along with 1 GB of RAM and a large (7-inch!0 1,024 by 600 pixel LCD touchscreen. The Q1 also sports a 1.34 megapixel camera plus a 300 pixel Webcam for video conferencing, and Samsung claims to have upped the battery life in the Q1 Ultra to support a “minimum” of 4.5 hours of continuous run time.

But, of course, UMPC fans live and die by connectivity, and the Q1 doesn’t disappoint, offering 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 20.+EDR wireless connectivity, plus optional HSDPA cellular broadband support. The Q1 Ultra supports either Windows XP tablet Edition or Windows Vista Home Premium; customers can also opt for an integrated fingerprint reader. Accessories available for the Q1 include a U.S./Canadian GPRS module, a docking station with three USB ports, and an external USB keyboard (just in case that split-QWERTY design doesn’t cut it).

The Q1 Ultra is available now through major brick-and-mortar and online with suggested prices starting at $799.

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