UMPC Trend Is Gone, Torch Passed to Netbooks

UMPC Portal notes something that I’ve been watching for months. The trend for searches using the term UMPC is in vast decline. As a mobile technology community, this can’t be surprising to any regular readers. As much I as enjoyed the three UMPCs that I purchased, the device itself “got in the way” for mainstream consumers of effectively using it — ink entry just doesn’t work well on resistive touchscreens. Then of course there were the price challenges, and hardware that wasn’t quite mature enough for most folks.

Prices are down now and the hardware has matured. The addition of a small but very usable keyboard enabled far easier content creation. Yup, I’m talking about netbooks. Even with a soft spot in my heart for UMPCs, they did fail. But they succeeded at the same time. They succeeded in creating the platform that evolved into today’s netbooks. They drove hardware manufacturers and chipmakers to increase power efficiency without a total sacrifice of processing power.

In the above chart, I compared the trends for UMPC, netbook and MIDs in 2008. I would have carried it into 2009, but the netbook trend grows so much that it makes the other two terms almost meaningless by comparison. Based on the results, I feel reaffirmed that MID is essentially a silly term. It’s likely that only mobile tech enthusiasts use it and the majority of consumers have never even heard of it. By simple definition, any mobile device that has Internet capability is a MID. That would include all smartphones and probably a good chunk of feature phones, too. Internet browsing might not be optimal on those devices, but surely they’re MIDs.

Regardless of the trends and names, I say thank you, UMPC. You paved the way and laid the groundwork for mobile computing for the next several years to come.