['Willcom D4' UMPC] 8 Problems Crop Up [Part 1]

Jul 22, 2008
Masao Oonishi, Nikkei Microdevices
My main mobile PC, a "Let's Note CF-W4" (left, 12.1-inch), the old famous mini PC "Libretto 60" (upper right, 6.1-inch) and the "Willcom D4" (bottom right, 5-inch wide). The D4's LCD panel is distinctively brighter and more vivid than the other two. I switched on the Libretto 60 for the first time in almost five years, but it started up without any problems, other than the fact the battery was drained.
My main mobile PC, a "Let's Note CF-W4" (left, 12.1-inch), the old famous mini PC "Libretto 60" (upper right, 6.1-inch) and the "Willcom D4" (bottom right, 5-inch wide). The D4's LCD panel is distinctively brighter and more vivid than the other two. I switched on the Libretto 60 for the first time in almost five years, but it started up without any problems, other than the fact the battery was drained.
[Click to enlarge image]
The D4's desktop screen. The font size is switched to "large" to better suit my eyesight.
The D4's desktop screen. The font size is switched to "large" to better suit my eyesight.
[Click to enlarge image]

Tech-On! and the Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad obtained the "Willcom D4," a mobile communication device launched by Willcom Inc and Willcom Okinawa Inc, on July 11, the day the device was released.

The D4's specifications, which was announced in advance on Willcom's Website, stimulated my interest (I used the Libretto 60, which was released in 1997), since I favored and habitually used Toshiba Corp's "Libretto," a mini notebook PC that once dominated the market in the Windows 95 era. So I volunteered to try the D4 before the squad broke it down and to write an article about my first impressions of the device.

I'll let the PC magazines due the detailed quantitative evaluations and offer a report of my experiences over two days, focusing on the convenience of the mobile handset. I will be more than happy if this article could be of help to engineers when they design such devices in the future.

The first thing I noticed were its shortcomings

I personally held high hopes for the Willcom D4, although its debut was quiet compared with Apple's "iPhone 3G," which was released on the same day. All the more, it is regrettable that I must write the article starting with the D4's shortcomings.

As it would take up too much space to talk about everything individually, I itemized the D4's shortcomings below. If I have a chance to do a follow-up article, I would like to provide detailed information on each of them.

(1) Short battery life (claimed: 1.5 hours, measured: about 1 hour)
(2) When not locked, it easily starts up even when something touches the screen by accident.
(3) Its surface quickly becomes dirty with fingerprints.
(4) The cooler fan is noisier than expected.
(5) You can't operate the D4 while wearing one of the standard-length straps available on the market.
(6) The location of the mouse button on the left makes it difficult to press when using the keyboard.
(7) The optional Bluetooth handset seems to be required to quickly answer incoming calls.
(8) It becomes so hot that your hands or your desk also get hot.

That is about all that I can think of for now. I am sure I could find more if I tried.