It's a phone, it's a UMPC, it's...an HDPC?

A Korean hardware maker introduces a hybrid phone and ultramobile PC.

An easier way to describe the HDPC (Hybrid Dual Portable Computer) is to list the things it won't do.

That basically includes writing my blog posts and going through mounds of e-mail and auto-deleting the stuff I don't want. Otherwise, the HDPC from Korean manufacturer MIU does almost everything I want to do during the day.

MIU HDPC
The HDPC MIU

The list of its purported functions: Internet phone, MP3 player, UMPC, digital camera, voice recorder, e-book reader, Wi-Fi, navigation, camcorder, and portable video game player. It also runs dual operating systems: Windows XP or Windows CE 5.0 and Linux QPlus. The screen measures 4 inches, and the keyboard is a full QWERTY setup, and to top it off, its starting price tag is around $500.

Sounds great, but there are several things to quibble over. First, in the looks department...it probably has a good personality. I mean, I want to like it, but the photos reveal it to be bulky, and the design is really lacking. If I actually used this as a phone I'd look like I teleported from 1994. (To see why, check out this photo of the phone in someone's hand.)

While the ability to have a phone replace that many devices is a fantastic idea, it will run into in the same problems in the U.S. (if it's ever released here--so far it's on track for Korea only) as every other in-between-categories UMPC device: the display and keyboard are too small for a computer, and its too big for a properly portable device.

Cases in point: the OQO , the Flipstart , the MR-1 from General Dynamics, the Q1 from Samsung . For each, it's the same old story: bulky, awkward, and either a handicapped operating system, or a battery-zapping version of Windows. Plus, the price tag is usually outrageous.

Selling for around $500 is one obvious advantage the HDPC has over other UMPCs, as well as the fact that the Korean mobile marketplace is awesomely sophisticated, so this may be welcomed with open arms there.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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