Time was the GPD WIN Intel Z8550 would have been my dream device. A 5.5-inch palmtop offering the full Windows 10 Home desktop experience? Optimized for gaming? Woot! Enough people obviously feel the same to have blown this Indiegogo project right past its $100,000 target to a cool $400,000 at the time of writing, with eight days still to go.
All the same, we’re now in a very different technosphere than days of yore when my Psion 5MX was the acme of portability. With Windows 10 tablets abounding, never mind the Android and Apple competition, would you still want a clamshell micro-laptop? And can the device live up to the promised spec?
Despite its gaming focus, the backers are clearly positioning the GDP WIN for work and e-reading as well. “The 1280 x 720 high resolution of the handheld gives you an extraordinarily sharp and clear display of words,” states the Indiegogo blurb. The Intel Z8550 chip, optimized for gaming, should certainly deliver enough performance for productivity and text display. There are micro USB and regular USB sockets, as well as mini HDMI. E-reading software options of course should be plentiful. And with the flat-folding format visible above, you can easily imagine holding it in one hand as an e-reader. Weight at only 300gm is easily light enough to be carried in your pocket.
Does it have more to offer than a large smartphone with a detachable keyboard? That’s really a question with today’s devices. The micro-laptop form factor and the full Windows 10 experience are likely to be the main draw for those who aren’t after the device purely for gaming. And Microsoft has been trying for long enough to sell the proposition of Windows Phones as portable desktops in miniature.
All the same, if it appeals, there it is – or will be. Despite the usual warnings about Indiegogo vaporware projects, this one is ever so slightly likely to happen, with that 402 percent overshoot on the funding target. That or there will be a lot of very disappointed dollars out there. But for now at least the most attractive perk on offer is a $200 discount on the expected retail price, for $299, with delivery expected in October 2016.