An increased range of Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPC) is now available in New Zealand due to a strategic partnership between Vantex Distribution and Australian Tablet PC distributor Tegatech. Hugo Ortega, Tegatech principal, says he’s seen a huge spike in interest in UMPC since the first devices were launched in May last year.“It’s a hot technology and awareness is still brand new. UMPC is the ultimate form factor and has really hit a sweet spot in the market,” he says. UMPC has appeal to a wide range of vertical markets, says Ortega, including education, aviation, emergency services and storage management. Ortega says Tegatech is the market leader in its space and is one of only two Microsoft Tablet PC MVP partners in the southern hemisphere. Eric Ryda, Vantex mobile wireless manager, says UMPC devices fill a definite gap in the market.“The most common complaint about PDAs is that they’re too small while laptops are too big and battery draining. UMPCs sit right in the middle. It’s all about having realistic expectations of what the technology can deliver,” he says.Ryda sees the range as a business to business proposition and says he has already seen unprecedented interest from Vantex resellers. “It’s still a niche product and I certainly don’t expect the entire market to move to it but UMPC goes a long way to bridging the gap between mobility and portability.” Customer demand led Vantex to investigate UMPC opportunities, says Ryda, and every inquiry pointed to Tegatech.“It made sense to partner with a Tablet PC specialist and combine that with our knowledge of the New Zealand mobile market.”Initially Vantex is distributing devices from TabletKiosk, Samsung and Raon Vega. David Rayner, Windows platform manager, expects the UMPC market to have broad business appeal this year. “Initially it will have appeal in specific niche markets - such as education - and will gain traction over the next 12 months,” he says.