Sharp’s D4 is a two-faced bastard of a UMPC. On one hand, it’s the first such device that’s small enough to slip into a jacket pocket and still have a standard-looking keyboard. On the other hand, it’s so obviously bloated–Windows Vista, hard drive, a Centrino CPU–that one can practically hear the battery screaming as its energy is sucked from it, a charge measured not in hours but in minutes.
More than ever before, the temptation to buy an ultra-mobile burns. And yet the same thing that makes it so attractive reminds us how short these expensive trinkets fall of obsolete analogs from the handheld past, which boasted instant-on and many hours of battery life. Ask yourself this: what might I do with this thing, and why do I need Vista, 1GB of RAM and 1.33 GHz to do it?
Imagine a version of Windows intermediate between CE/Mobile and XP/Vista, with a focus on mobile power-management wedded to compatibility with standard Windows applications; wouldn’t that be super? Imagine this thing with the iPhone’s cut of OS X on it. Goodness, just imagine it with anything that won’t make your eyes bleed trying to decipher 10-point fonts at 250 dpi.