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What is an UMPC?

By David White
Updated May 16, 2024
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UMPC stands for Ultra-Mobile Personal Computer. It is one of the most innovative machines yet invented. Not surprisingly, each and every UMPC bears the Microsoft label.

The UMPC is first and foremost a computer. It runs a full version of Windows XP operating system software. It usually comes equipped with full versions of popular Microsoft software applications such as Office, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

The UMPC is not a sit-on-your-desk computer, nor is it even a sit-on-your-lap computer; rather, it is a hold-in-your-hands computer. It is so small and lightweight that you can hold it in your hands, much like you would hold a book. It also sports a touch screen, making it super-easy to do tasks both simple and complex.

Internet access is easy, of course. Running Internet Explorer or other Web browsers, you can access Wi-Fi hotspots or even use a Bluetooth®-enabled mobile phone to surf the Net. Email, downloading and uploading of audio and video files, instant messaging — it's all possible with the UMPC, which promises a fast connection wherever you go.

Another helpful piece of functionality is GPS technology. Whether you use the Microsoft version or software from another provider, you can use the UMPC to give you directions from place to place, tracking your progress on the computer in your hand as you go. Such navigation can take place via satellite or Wi-Fi protocols.

Like other portable computing devices, the UMPC can also be your "office on the go." You can sync up the UMPC with your home or work computer and take your documents, spreadsheets, audio and video files, email, calendar, and contacts with you while you're on the move. You can also take your games with you, offering a new way to enjoy video entertainment.

As far as technical specs, the UMPC has a 7-inch (about 18 cm) LCD screen with a minimum resolution of 800x480. Access is via the touch screen, which includes an onscreen keyboard. The aforementioned OS is Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. And the whole thing weighs just two pounds, or just under a kilogram.

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