Microsoft, Intel, and a few hardware vendors announced the ultra-mobile PC at the CeBit Trade Show in Germany on March 9th.
This device, which runs an enhanced version of the TabletPC operating system, is estimated to be in the price range of $499-999US depending on the features included. An UMPC models launched yesterday are in the 2 pound range, have a 900mHz processer, have 30 or 40gb hard drives, a 7" screen, Bluetooth and wireless, and assorted USB and even a VGA port. The battery life is estimated at about 3 hours at this point. There are posts that state that the viewing of movies can occur without launching the entire operating system, but I have not verified that as of this point. There is a unique, software-based, thumb-usuable overlay keyboard on the screen of the device as well as enhanced menus and scroll bars that allow fingertip access. (This can only mean these devices have a passive digitizer screen which I have on my current TabletPC and it works very well, for those who are wondering.)
The impact for schools? At this price point (about 1/2 the price of the current small TabletPCs on the market), imagine a lab setting that only has keyboards, mice, and monitors...the students all have their own UMPC and simply hook it up as they come into the lab via the VGA and USB connections. They have the same set-up at home, and can easily have a full operating system...the great OS of the TabletPC, whereever they are!
Just my first thoughts on the subject?
Links to check out if you are interested:
Microsoft UMPC Site
Ultra-Mobile PC: Product page
CeBit News from the show
Added 3/30/06: Here is a link to a draft manual of the Samsung UMPC filed with the FCC.
Audio file of this post from Talkr.