Even while the processor wars raged on in the mobile world, manufacturers too are introducing new mobile computing products that are derived from the concepts of making your desktop computer mobile. Manufacturers have come up with ways to make notebooks smaller, while striving to deliver similar processing power. While these models are derivatives of notebooks, and they do share some aspects, these machines have created their own unique niche in the mobile computing world.
Introduced in 2006, Ultra Mobile Personal Computers (UMPCs) are small computers that resemble their larger tablet cousins in functionality, but are designed less for drawing and more for interaction. UMPCs in general have an 7-inch screen or smaller to keep to a petite form factor and utilize an Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) processor for efficient power savings. With the introduction of the Intel Atom processor in 2008, things are starting to look up for this niche market of mobile computers.
While UMPCs tend to fulfill a niche user group, mini-notebooks have taken the consumer market by storm. Most noticeably led by the ASUS Eee PC brand, mini-notebooks powered by Intel's Atom have entered mainstream market awareness with its lightweight, small form factor (typically 10.2-inches and below) and an affordable price. Where UMPCs tend to cost a lot more due to their unique designs and compacting a full fledged system functionality in the form factor, mini-notebooks are generally much cheaper though some recent models have integrated more features and offer better build quality but cost almost similar to a full-fledged budget notebook.
The notebook world isn't just restricted to getting smaller and smaller. While ultra-light laptops have been around for awhile, it's the newer crop of desktop replacements (DTR) that have gotten lots of loving attention and have started making its way into consumer homes. Featuring all-in-one entertainment features, or having enough graphics processing power for the latest crop of games, these DTR machines are powerful enough to supplant desktops while remaining 'mobile' and are competitively priced; a far cry indeed from the older days of notebooks.
Given a world with limitless imagination and infinite variations, it's going to be an interesting experience to watch what happens in the next ten years. So far, our last ten years has seen steady refinements and growth of the notebook market, and we're not too far from the days where notebooks will become powerful but light weight companions that are a required accessory in our daily lifestyle.