Freescale $200 7-inch Smartbook Reference Design Gave me Flashbacks About the 1996 UMPC

Interesting press release about a touchscreen device from a major tech player…

Part of our objective in creating the original reference design for the ____ category was to engineer a platform that’s both very compact and, through careful component choice, possible to sell for $500 MSRP.

Sound familiar? No, it is not a press release introducing a new product at CES this week. That is a sentence from Microsoft’s 1996 introduction of the ill-fated Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC).

Q&A: Microsoft Unveils Details for Ultra-Mobile Personal Computers

It goes on to say: …ombine to create a powerful platform for mobile communications, entertainment, gaming and new scenarios such as location-based services as well.

So, when I read Engadget’s item that…

Freescale reveals 7-inch smartbook reference design, hopes to see it ship for $200

…I had flashbacks to 1996. Having a reference platform with a $200 price point is one thing. Getting a manufacturer to actually deliver a device at that price is another. The UMPCs eventually emerged at as under-powered and under-whelming products in the $1200 to $1500 price range (though they dropped to under $1000 before being overtaken by netbooks).