The handheld PC fail crusade just took Jerusalem! The first mobile internet device (MID) was announced to be more expensive than than the bloated, unusable ultramobile PCs for which this new class of gadget is supposed to be a cheaper, cleaner consumer replacement.
At $1,119 in Australian dollars, the M528 3G will shift at the equivalent of about $1,050 USD. UMPC Portal’s updated its post already to soften the blow, reporting that it hopes it’ll be only $750 when it comes to the U.S., but the rationale — “It appears that we might have stirred the sales and marketing groups into a re-think” — doesn’t quite add up. While the point that Aussies and Europeans just get screwed on consumer electronics is true, they’re putting this thing out to bat in a pricing league way over what’s expected for something supposed to occupy an intermediary spot between cell phones and subnotebooks/UMPCS. It’s almost as if they’ve chickened out on the high-volume, thin-margin model that MID seems to imply, in favor of cashing in on the buzz by trying to sneakily rebrand UMPCs, devices with a reputation for overburdened hardware and wretched battery life.
We’re supposed to be reasonable about these things, but by God, how can they keep cocking it up generation after generation? The lesson of the Eee, or, indeed, the iPhone, has simply not been learned: a handheld computer should be low-priced, with limited but productive functionality, not yet another dumb run at trying to get people to pay a grand for a bloatware-crippled shit trinket.