Microsoft is pushing for Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) devices to be used for niche applications ranging from media players to GPS navigation systems and health monitors.In a session at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Seattle, the company showed off concept designs for a series of devices performing such niche applications."The UMPC is a platform that enables us to reach people and markets that we could never dream of with desktop or mobile PCs," said Seiya Ohta, a Microsoft hardware experience architect working on UMPC.UMPC devices are facing a tougher challenge than laptop computers or Windows Mobile devices because they are primarily targeting consumers whose budgets are obviously smaller that those of enterprises investing in mobile computers.Microsoft's concept designs are primarily intended as suggestions for device makers, although some are being pursued by unnamed manufacturers, Ohta told vnunet.com. The UMPC standard was jointly developed by Microsoft and Intel and officially released in March. Samsung's Q1 Ultra-Mobile PC is one of the first devices on the market, but early reviews were critical of its limited screen size and battery life.Future versions should improve on these features, according to Otto Berkes, Microsoft's UMPC general manager."We will be using Moore's Law to drive down power consumption and the size of the silicon in order to create longer battery life and thinner and lighter products," he said.Future models will also offer improved screen resolutions, up from the current 800 x 480 pixels to 1,024 x 600.Berkes also predicted that it would become cost effective to create devices that rely solely on Flash memory rather than hard drives as their primary storage. He did not offer any predictions on when this would become an option.