Fujitsu U820 GPS Laptop
Marvin Hlavac

Fujitsu today announced the 1.32 pound LifeBook U820 convertible mini notebook:

... the first mini notebook combining full-featured Windows(R) PC functionality with integrated Garmin Mobile(R) PC navigation software, provides powerful computing and complete GPS navigation for about the same price as a premium GPS system.

Powered by the Intel(R) Centrino(R) Atom(TM) Z-series processor, the LifeBook U820 mini notebook with integrated turn-by-turn, voice-prompted navigation from Garmin eliminates the need for on-the-go consumers and mobile professionals, particularly in the field force and sales force automation areas to carry separate devices for computing and navigation. The LifeBook U820 mini-notebook's 5.6-inch Crystal View wide XGA touch screen is the ideal viewing screen offering a similar viewing area to standalone GPS systems. Its improved QWERTY keyboard features an extra set of rows for more comfortable typing and a zoom utility for easier viewing.
New! Built-in GPS receiver and integrated Garmin's Mobile PC software -- preloaded with maps of the U.S. and Canada, millions of destinations and points of interest, turn-by-turn directions, and route planning.

New! Lighter weight starting at 1.32 pounds.

New! Powered by the Intel Centrino Atom Z-series processor which supports lower power consumption, fewer chips, VT Technology and integrated support for 1080p HD video decode.

New! An additional row of keys and a new overall layout of the keyboard to more closely simulate a standard QWERTY keyboard.

New! Maintains security features including fingerprint sensor and BIOS lock, and adds a Kensington lock slot to deter physical theft.

New! Now offers up to 7.5 hours of battery life with four-cell battery or 3.5 hours with new 2-cell battery option.

New! Hard disk drive up to 120GB or solid state drive up to 64GB.

New! Improved screen resolution with WXGA display.

New! Enhanced video quality with 1.3 mega-pixel (640x480) resolution webcam.
Marvin Hlavac
A few more details not mentioned above:

* 1.6GHz CPU
* Screen resolution 1280 x 800 pixels
* 300-nit brightness rating

I see online retailers selling it today, November 5, 2008, from $989 to $1249, depending on configuration.
1. This is a great laptop.

2. Does anybody know if you get to keep the Garmin software when someone upgrades the Vista operating system to XP or XP Tablet edition?

If you don't this is just a scam, because this UMPC runs like a slug (like everything else) on vista.
Marvin Hlavac
Hopefully you get the installation DVD and the product key for the program, or at least the product key. I'm not sure if it is possible to retrieve the product key from the installed Garmin Mobile PC. This would be something to ask at the time of purchase. Garmin Mobile PC software costs around $59, so if they wish to sell you Fujitsu U820 with out Garmin Mobile PC product key, just ask for $59 discount.
As it supposedly has a built-in GPS (antenna reminiscent of the SPIII) the program would be locked to that. However, if it is not on a DVD, it would be very difficult to reinstall.

How do you know its a slug on Vista? I know my ASUS r2h was but it only has a poor 900mHz CPU and I haven't tried it since I upgraded the memory. The Atom might be way better. I love Vista on the HP tablet but it has 3 meg memory. What does this top out at?

The atom is equal to a intel pentium three running at 1.2 ghz. This Fujitsu has one gig of onboard soldered ram, non upgradeable. The good thing is, that it has a new chipset that offloads a lot of tasks from the processor (video decoding etc).

As for your HP tablet, load up XP and prepare to get blown away, I have never know anybody who has tried them both on the same machine and didn't go with XP. Vista is just that much of a hog. I do electronics for living by the way.
Ken in Regina
I've done some messing around and I've not found much difference in performance. An underpowered machine is just that: short on power. A 900MHz machine is a dog running anything, even Linux, unless all you do is run a browser and some email and OpenOffice.

One of my desktops is 1.6MHz with 1GB of RAM running XP Home/SP2. My laptop is 1.7GHz with 1GB of RAM running Vista Home Premium barefoot(can't get SP1 to install so it's still the unimproved original). I cannot tell any difference unless I run something that is graphics intensive. Then I see a slight difference in favor of the desktop machine. I have a cheap 256MB ATI card (Radeon 9550) in my desktop, whereas the laptop has the usual anemic onboard video that most low-end laptops come with.

One of the biggest performance issues with navigation software or mapping/planning programs is that they do a lot of calculations and they demand a fair bit of the video display abilities. The Atom is designed for low power consumption, not high performance, but it should do a decent job. Intel did one dumb thing with Atom-based systems. They included their anemic on-board video chip and they won't allow motherboard manufacturers to substitute another onboard video chip like the better performing ones from AMD/ATI. So any serious video demand is not going to set the world on fire ... under any operating system.

Turning off the Aero Glass interface will help video performance on Vista on low-power machines.

Don't get me wrong: I really dislike Vista for lots of reasons. I think it's just about the dumbest thing Microsoft ever did (exceeded only by BOB ... anybody remember BOB??). But performance isn't one of them. I simply have not seen the huge difference that so many XP and Linux fanboys keep shouting about. The only documented evidence I've seen of performance differences that anyone would actually notice is in high-end gaming. That's a huge issue if you're a high-end gamer. I'm not.

When I tried Vista on the UMPC, I just could not see any advantage. Speed was not the issue, I just didn't know how to turn off UAC at the time and the drivers were not fully baked.

Since I have upgraded the memory, I might try it again when I have nothing better to do but its not high on the list. The few things that Vista offers do not apply to this device.

Being a regular user of XP on 6 other computers here, it took me some time to wrestle the Vista interface into something I could remember where things were. However, if I were to consider a new computer (or even small screen device) that came with Vista, installing XP would not be on my list of things to change.

If you are so sure Vista is not for you, there are lots of XP netbooks available that are cheaper than this device even if you add Mobile PC and a GPS.

Ken in Regina
Originally Posted by tcassidy
Being a regular user of XP on 6 other computers here, it took me some time to wrestle the Vista interface into something I could remember where things were.
I've been using this laptop for nearly a year. It's not used regularly and every time I need to do something different I waste a bunch of time. Even something as ordinary as email and contacts is a pain. I wouldn't mind so much that they made things different if they were also an improvement, but they aren't. Many common things have lost functionality or it's more difficult (more fragmented) to achieve the same thing. Someone inside Microsoft sold the designers a bill of goods that using a browser-style interface for everything would be a good thing. It's not.

However, if I were to consider a new computer (or even small screen device) that came with Vista, installing XP would not be on my list of things to change.
I can use Vista well enough, and my needs for the laptop are trivial enough, that replacing the operating system is not any sort of priority. If I ever decide it no longer meets my needs I may use it as a test bed for whatever version of Ubuntu (Linux) is available at the time.

Fortunately, except for my laptop, I build my own systems so when I get around to replacing my existing two desktops I'll just move my existing XP installations. I have an unused XP Pro waiting for the next one I build.

I also build all my own home computers. I was planning on a new one this year and have XP and Vista disks standing by. However, with the purchase of this laptop, I will put that off for a while, probably until the next version of Windows. Its not nearly as much of a challenge as it used to be.

I might have to update my wife's computer but may go with a prebuilt with Vista for that. We'll see.

Ken in Regina
The prebuilts are getting so cheap that it's almost not worth putting together your own system unless there is a special configuration you want.

Careful Ken. We might start crying on each other's shoulder.

Does anybody know how well the Intel System Controller Hub (SCH) US15W gets along with XP, as in it's ability to accelerate H.264, MPEG2, VC1, and WMV9 video?

I wonder if this is the reason why Fujitsu went with Vista.

I hear Windows 7 has a small memory foot print and seems to go better with UMPCs and ghz class PCs.

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