Some devices set the world on fire, just ask Apple for details. Others, do not. The UMPC seems to be falling into the luke warm gadget category at the moment, and despite the best efforts of the usual suspects sales of the Ultra Mobile PC remain disappointing. Maybe because nobody knows what the UMPC actually is. Is it the Microsoft/Intel defined, Windows Tablet PC powered device with a touchscreen of less than 7" in size? Is it one of those bizarre Nokia Internet tablet things which have made such an impact that I am struggling to recall the name, N800 is the one I think? Or maybe it is because nobody knows what to use it for. Larger than a smartphone but smaller than a sub-notebook is a strange territory to be in, and no killer application springs to mind.

Not that any of this is stopping Arm, Mozilla, Texas Instruments and Samsung from getting together and looking to build a Linux UMPC platform. Incorporating everything from the chip design through to the OS, this new collaboration intends to bring an open source Linux based platform to the genre which will help the hardware guys build a better UMPC. The director of strategic alliances at Arm's connected mobile computing group is quoting early 2009 for the first devices to hit the market.

I cannot say that I am convinced that this will make any real difference, after all it will not be the first Linux UMPC to hit the market. The Pepper Computer Inc 'Pepper Pad' has been around for over a year and not exactly set the world on fire.

Linux alone is not enough. What is needed is bigger battery life, lower pricing and for all the smartphones on the planet to spontaneously combust...