Ultramobile PCs (UMPCs) won't take off with consumers because the technology's not yet up to scratch, according to Acer's president, Gianfranco Lanci.
"The technology available today is still not in our opinion what the customer needs," Lanci told reporters at CeBIT in Hanover.
Launched last year, the UMPC is the brainchild of Microsoft and Intel and is billed as being a new product category, different from both notebook PCs and PDAs. UMPCs are distinctive for their small, book-like size and touchscreen LCDs.
Perhaps the best-known UMPC is Samsung's Q1, introduced last year. While the Q1 has generated copious amounts of press coverage for Samsung in recent months, sales have fallen short of the company's targets, with less than 100,000 units sold over the last year.
Samsung has higher hopes for the Q1 Ultra, a successor to the Q1 unveiled this week. Over the next year, the company hopes to sell up to 300,000 of these devices, which include an improved screen, a more powerful processor, and longer battery life.
But Acer is holding off on introducing an UMPC, waiting for advances in areas such as battery life. "If you think about the ultramobile PC, you need first of all battery life that is like a telephone. With a telephone, you have 12 or 15 hours of battery life without a problem," Lanci said.
"We need to wait another 18 months or 24 months before this is ready," he said.
Graphics also have to be improved. The graphics capabilities of UMPCs have to match what's available with other products, Lanci said. "You have very good graphics on the notebooks, but you also need very good graphics on the ultramobile PC," he said.
A third area that needs improvement is wireless connectivity. While 3G networks mobile offer internet connections, service charges are still too expensive, Lanci said. "We also need to think about connectivity - that can be 3G or Wimax, when Wimax is available. It must be available, but at an affordable price, otherwise people won't use it," he said.