CNET UK recently ran a rather interesting head-to-head showdown, deathmatch, cage-fight comparison between the much touted (by Microsoft) Ultra-Mobile PC (codename “Origami”) and the 10 year old Newton MessagePad 2000 from Apple.
The particular UMPC used in the comparison was the Samsung Q1. It debuted this year and features a true-color 800×480 touchscreen display, 1.8″ hard drive, Ethernet, Bluetooth, and more, all powerd by a 900MHz Celeron and running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 (say that five times fast). The Newton in question features a 320×480 greyscale touchscreen display, two PCMCIA slots, and Flash RAM storage, all powered by a 162MHz StrongARM processor and running NewtonOS. It’s a simpler device. And sometimes simpler is better.
Becuase the 10 year old Newton beat down the UMPC.
In the 8-round battle, the Newton and the UMPC both showed their strengths and weaknesses, but it was the Newton’s 30-hour battery life (twelve times that of the UMCP) and overall stability that set it ahead. It’s quite a nod to the Newton Group to see that the MessagePad is still quite usable today. I’m pleased to have not long ago become reacquainted with my trusty MessagePad 2100.
Recommended reading for those interested: Defying Gravity: The Making of Newton