UMPC – retail or enterprise

Hugo and Dr Neil talk about whether UMPC devices should be a retail (ie appearing in Harvey Norman) or an enterprise device.  While Dr Neil argues that the target price point should be around the US$700 price point so that they are appealing to consumers I’m not convinced that these devices are going to sell like hotcakes even if the prices was $3-400.  Consumers (and I take a family as a typical representation here) will buy a desktop computer for use by the whole family rather than a mobile device that can easily be misplaced.  For those members of the family, such as the kids, that need a computer for school, a convertible tablet is probably going to be the device of choice.

On a different note, Hugo makes the point that he doesn’t think consumers will adopt UMPC devices as the learning curve is too high.  My thoughts are that in fact most consumers will understand the interaction model, using touch or stylus input, much better than the traditional mouse and keyboard.  I think acceptance will be high for the operating system; However I feel that unless us developers start to build applications that work with a touch/stylus input, these devices will struggle to be accepted by either consumers or the enterprise.  In fact I would go so far as to say this is the major impediment, especially when even Microsoft can’t get it right!