Interview: Why Samsung is sticking by the maligned UMPC

Samsung Q1 Ultra
Samsung's Q1 Ultra is to be refreshed early next year

Samsung is planning a next generation of its Q1 UMPC and even potential MIDs – but is holding off on thoughts of an Eee PC rival. TechRadar spoke to Jeongseon Euh, Principal R&D Engineer in Samsung’s Computer Systems Division about the company’s Q1 UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) device.

“This current Samsung Q1 ultra is second generation of the UMPC category since 2006,” explained Euh – referred to by his co-workers as ‘the Q1 guy’. “May 2006 we launched in US. As you understand, this UMPC category is still very small.”

The Q1, together with its upgraded version the Q1 Ultra has, by Samsung’s reckoning, been a modest success, especially in education. “Last year we shipped 100,000 units worldwide including the UK, Italy, United States and China.” That might not sound like much, but it’s hardly disastrous for a product category that, put simply, many just aren’t convinced by.

“In that market segment [pricing] is between $800-$1700 USD. It’s not a device you can buy for Christmas, it’s [more] expensive for a specific purpose,” explained Samsung’s Sales and Marketing representative.

The Q1 has an enviable market share – around 65 per cent according to IDC. “In that category there are a few players like Samsung, Sony, Asus and Fujitsu” he added. “The volume is not huge, that’s why we have significant market share.”

When asked whether there would be a new version of the Q1, the answer was certain. “We are going to continue to refresh our product for the price point market because we still see customers need this,” explained our marketing guy.

“We will refresh our design and upgrade our performance and specification. We will continue to invest in form factors. We will launch the 3rd generation of UMPC probably early Q1 next year,” Q3 in Q1 then. We'd expect to see a version ready in time for January's CES.

NEXT: Samsung’s reaction to Intel’s Atom and the Eee PC


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.