Wibrain B1 UMPC: boxy but useful?

The Wibrain B1 UMPC looks somewhat retro in a video

CNET Asia

The Wibrain B1 popped up on OnlyUMPC.com in August, and earlier this month CNET Asia's DigiHunter posted a picture that showed an updated-but-still-retro-looking design along with intel that it may hit some international markets outside its home turf in Korean by the end of the year. Today, Engadget posted a video (in Korean, mind you) of the Wibrain B1 with one of its handlers.

While I've never been warm on the UMPC (low on usability, high on price), and the arrival of the Asus Eee PC has left me even cooler on the idea of a UMPC, the Wibrain B1 does seem to get a couple things right. Its wide, PSP-like dimensions (7.6 inches wide bye 3.2 inches tall) make it look more like a portable Internet and communications device that happens to run a full version of Windows than simply a shrunken-down laptop stripped of many of its useful features. It would seem to be a little on the thick side, however, at 1.1 inches. From the video, the touchpad in the lower-right corner looks relatively roomy and features scroll capability. The split keyboard looks a bit more spacious and welcoming to thumb typing than the tiny, split keyboard found on the Samsung Q1 Ultra or a cramped keyboard on the Sony VAIO UX390 or the Vulcan FlipStart. The Wibrain runs XP Home on a VIA C7M processor and serves up a 4.8-inch screen with a 1,024x600 resolution. Full specs (and a shot of the older, silver chassis) can be found on the Wibrain Web site. Wibrain doesn't list a price, but earlier estimates put it at $650 to $760, which would compare favorably with other UMPCs but not to the plucky 7-inch Asus Eee PC that comes in at a trim $399.

I throw this question out to Crave's international readership: Is the Wibrain B1 something you'll be on the lookout for toward the end of the year? If not, what's holding you back: design, price, features, or all or some of the above?

 

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