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No touch on ULCPCs

Word is spreading that Microsoft’s Ultra-Low Cost PCs (ULCPCs or ULPCs) pricing program will not support touch.

JKKMobile offers up some choice words/advice for Microsoft.

Let’s be clear though that we’re talking about unnamed, leaked sources here. Also, from what Microsoft mentioned publically earlier, they’re basically offering deep discounts for XP Home. By definition, this exludes Tablet bits (essentially) and domain join. For me, touch gets less interesting at this point. In fact, encouraging touch without Tablet could dilute the Tablet market, I guess. XP Home knocks out schools using these as Tablet PCs in any organized manner as well. I’ve already blogged about my thoughts on this. However, schools can always decide to pay a little extra for the Tablet bits and Vista and a machine that can run it reasonably well. This is just an incentive program.

And we’re really talking about a competitive nudge against Linux. That’s what’s motivating this. We’re not talking about where Microsoft’s heart is. We know no more or less whether Microsoft is committed to low-cost Tablet PCs or Tablet PCs in education.

Of course, the problem here is that in its battle against Linux, Microsoft is going to be discouraging Tablet sales and disouraging the notion that Tablet features should be everywhere. This collision course looks unavoidable. To me, it’s not a question whether Microsoft should be blocking touch on ULCPCs, it’s about whether they should be encouraging Tablets and Tablet features to be low cost. For us Tablet advocates, well, we’ve got more work cut out for us. Now, not only do we have the unwelcome $200+ premium for the digitizers, we have an additional price premium for the OS on the low-end.

Oh well, maybe these low-cost PCs will flop and we can all go back to $1500 UMPCs. 🙂

Loren Heiny (1961 - 2010) was a software developer and author of several computer language textbooks. He graduated from Arizona State University in computer science. His first love was robotics.

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