When all the marketing pictures of the funky new palm-top
it in the off state something in the back of my head wonders if the
manufacturers have actually moved past the prototype stage, or not. In the past
we have seen AutoCAD renderings of servers which never made it into the market,
so it seems only fair that we should be shown a functional, and working OQO
device before vesting too much interest in it, and its' ability to alter the
portable market place.
The small device is the product of the design team which
collaborated with Apple on the Titanium notebook (which got quite hot
apparently) so it is not surprising to see the metal theme carried through. This
time around we have a Transmeta TM5800 Crusoe processor running at a projected
speed of 1GHz. Since the 0.13micron process TM5800 chips are currently working
away at 867MHz I guess this answeres our questions about prototype status. In
any regard, the OQO sports a 10GB ATA100 hard drive, 256MB of memory and a 4"
high-res XGA LCD display with Syanptics touchscreen. Battery life is being
quoted at two hours during "movie applications" and 8 hours for general use.
The device which measures just 4.9"x2.9"x0.9" and weighs 9oz, or 250 grams
also packs in Firewire, USB, audio-out, 802.11 wireless lan, Bluetooth, and an
"OQO-Link" docking connector. Quite a lot for a device so small isn't it?
On first glance the OQO resembles a glorified HDD-MP3 player which has been
grafted to a plam-top notebook, and since there are no other comparable products
on the market it is hard to see how useful something like this will ultimately
be as it competes directly against the Palm and enhanced PDA-phone markets. That
competition is not direct as Jory Bell and Joe Betts-Lacroix the makers see it,
but given the formfactor of the OQO, comparisons are apt to be made. The units
are expected to be available in the second half of 2002, come pre loaded with
Windows XP, and retail for less than that of a full-feature notebook. The
company mentions on their website that the OQO may even support GPRS and
CDMA2000 along with the standard 802.11b and Bluetooth.
It will be interesting to see how the OQO develops, and
if consumers will ultimately embrace it. At the very least, we'd like to see a
model before we get too excited about what could potentially be a very cool
little device. :)