The dream of a pocketable device able to run full unabridged Windows and make calls or a Windows smartphone has been something on the mind of gadget enthusiasts for years, championed by devices such as the ITG xpPhone and ViewSonic VCP08. But one has to wonder whether such a dream is still relevant in today's world of specialized mobile operating systems like iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7, complemented by the popularity of smartphones, mobile apps, and the escalating tabletmania movement.
This question has resurfaced following the unveiling of the AdvanceTC Magic W3 tablet/smartphone/UMPC running a full version of Windows 7.
Coming in the shape of a tablet/smartphone form factor with a 4.8-inch WVGA touch screen, the device relies on a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor and has 1GB RAM, a 32GB SSD for local storage, microSD support, b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, GPS, a 1.3MP webcam, and mini-HDMI and mini-USB connections. Specifically on the phone side, the W3 includes Quad-GSM and 3.5G HSPA wireless radios and is able to wake the device from sleep mode in the event of a call or message.
Realizing there could be difficulties navigating to the phone capabilities within Windows 7 on a 4.8-inch WVGA touch screen, AdvanceTC has integrated a custom user interface called the Magic Telephony Touch UI into the device to handle all phone/messaging functionality.
The W3 is also capable of playing back 720p HD video and includes docking capabilities to function as a true UMPC with the connection of a keyboard, mouse, and external display. We know that it packs a large 3700mAh battery, but there currently doesn't appear to be a confirmed figure for the battery life, although it should be maximized using the auto-waking sleep feature.
But personally, I feel that for most people, the dream of Windows in a pocket may have passed and been replaced by the current generation of smartphones and tablets. For the few niche enthusiasts who would be interested in the W3, the company has yet to confirm the release date and price. I also wonder how much more appealing the Magic W3 would be if it replaced its older Atom with a new Oak Trail chipset, though I suppose there still might be time before the release for that. Stay tuned for more news on this curious hybrid device in the future.