Word on the street is that Samsung is readying a 10-inch tablet with a slide-out keyboard that will run Windows 7. Hold on a sec, does that concept sound like déjà-vu? It sounds an awfully lot like Samsung is giving the UMPC a second life.
Before there were netbooks and touchscreen iPads, there was the UMPC (Ultra-Mobile PC). These mini computers were something of a huge failure because of its small screens, strange button layouts, terrible battery life and expensive prices. The Sony Vaio UX promised to bring an uncompromised PC experience on the go. We all know how that turned out.
Code-named the Samsung Gloria, the 10-inch tablet looks to be heading back down the same road that UMPCS once walked — tablet running a desktop operating system. Granted, battery tech and OS optimization have all gotten better and prices for portable computers have all come down greatly in the last few years, there's still something that is unsettling about a tablet with a slide-out keyboard.
Will the typing experience be more like a giant T-Mobile G2? It'd be a little hard to wrap your hands around a 10-inch tablet and use your thumbs. Would you lay the Gloria flat on a table and punch the keys with your fingers?
Who knows, maybe Samsung has an innovative solution we're not thinking of. Hopefully Samsung has learned from its products of yesteryear and will address all the weaknesses that brought UMPCs down in the first place.
Note: The image above is merely an artist's mock-up of the Samsung Gloria.