Mintpad is one of a kind portable device

Mobile | 2008/12/12 01:51 | Web 2.0 Asia

Mintpad is a unique portable device that lets you do, well, pretty much everything. With Mintpad, you can jot down memos, draw pictures, do mobile blogging and chatting, take photos and videos, listen to music, record your voice, surf the web, exchange business cards and manage your schedule, read e-books, and God only knows what else. 

Mintpass looks like this: Despite so many things it can do, it's deceivingly small. 

Here is the spec sheet of Mintpad. There are some Korean characters there, but you can get the gist of it. (By the way, battery goes up to 30 hours; The device runs on Windows CE 5.0)

You might say "Hey, my iPhone can do everything Mintpad does, plus it can make phone calls." That's not terribly incorrect - but I don't think Mintpad was designed as an iPhone fighter in the first place. Rather, I think the designers of Mindpad wanted to create new use cases. Compared to other portable devices, I think Mintpass is more focused on writing and sending memos, and mobile blogging. 

Speaking of which, blogging on Mindpad seems to be a breeze. You can blog by typing texts from on-screen keypads and attaching images, either photos taken from Mintpad's built-in 1.3-megapixels camera, or your own artwork that can be drawn with the stylus pen on screen. 

Then other Mindpad users can leave comments, either as texts or handwritings. Comments are displayed as post-it notes - a nice metaphoric, graphical touch. 

Another interesting feature is what it calls "memo chat". Two mintpad users (for example, dating couples) can quickly write or draw something on Mintpad screen and flick it to the other person - which is a new way of chatting, one that is a lot more fun (and possibly quicker) than dull text messaging. 

The folks behind Mintpad are actually no newbies - they are old gangs behind iRiver, a major MP3 device maker, which once used to compete almost neck-and-neck with iPods. I'm no gadget expert, but I personally have a bit of mixed opinions here. Mindpad is a solid product, and there are some unique features such as memo chat. But on the other hand, there aren't that many things Mindpad can do that cannot be done with the iPhone. Besides, telephone feature is a definite one-up for the iPhone. Therefore, if Mintpad wants to gain significant market traction (not only in the Korean market, but also in other markets outside of Korea), I believe it will have to have as many features to distinguish itself from the iPhone as possible. The competition in this case is simply too strong. 

TAG Iriver,
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