Toshiba's unnamed UMPC

Toshiba's unnamed UMPC

The Toshiba's onscreen keyboard.

We're always interested to see what's coming up for ultramobile PCs, the handheld platform better known as UMPC. We've seen previous iterations from the Sony UX to the OQO model 02, to the Vulcan Flipstart, but none have totally scratched our ultramobile itch, because of awkward interfaces, poor battery life, or underpowered processors.

Toshiba is showing off a new UMPC at CES, and while it doesn't yet have a name or release date, it incorporates a number of new features that move the category forward--but it's clearly still not "the one."

The Toshiba UMPC is a slightly bulky silver box running Windows Vista. Unlike other UMPCs with BlackBerry-style thumb keyboards, this uses an iPhone-like onscreen keyboard, accessed by flicking your finger up from the bottom of the screen. A flick from the left or right sides brings out a quick-launch dock of useful apps.

While the prototype we played with had a traditional disc drive, Toshiba says solid state drives will also be available (and they make much more sense in small devices such as this). A built-in accelerometer lets you flip the screen on its side, and in perhaps the most interesting touch, tilting the screen forward and back lets you scroll up and down Web pages.

Toshiba says its UMPC will hit Japan in the not-too-distant future, but no solid plans for a stateside release--or even a name--just yet.

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.

 

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