|Antelope Technologies: MMC |
The Mobile Computer Core (MCC) on
display by Antelope Technologies of Denver Colorado is also known as "Meta Pad"
technology by its creator - IBM.
IBM researchers originally developed Meta Pad
technology to learn how humans interact with computers and to test out theories
on hand held portable computing technologies. Antelope Technologies was born
from a company called Liteye which licensed the Meta Pad Technology for ten
years in order to design an manufacture its own version coined the MCC, or
Mobile Computer Core.
The small 3"x5"x0.75" MCC was on display with a
mobile PDA like device, and a docking station. Unlike the solution in
development by OQO, a sushi bar away at the Sea Grille Restaurant, the Antelope
is slated to go into the industrial marketplace as early as September of this
The OQO is still very much a prototype and only
slated for limited distribution in Q4, where it can hopefully capture some of
the Xmas markets.
Looking at the two devices of similar size, and
comparable applications, there are few things to take note of. The OQO and MCC
"Meta Pad" are both intended to be mobile computing centers (memory, CPU, and
storage are all on board) that dock with either a special desktop, or laptop
station. Where the two ideas diverge is when the portability comes into
The OQO prototypes are always fully accessible,
since the touch sensitive screen allows the user to open up an email or a
document at any time. With Antelope's MCC the computer core is just a small
black pack, about the size of a notebook battery. While it is rather appealing
that it doesn't have to be powered down, or rebooted when it is inserted or
removed from an "accessory" (the term used to describe the notebook casing, or
desktop computer) it is for all intensive purposes completely useless by
This is both a blessing and a curse, depending on
the situation I suppose. The OQO concept is always accessible, and more geared
towards consumer tendencies, but the MCC is a more robust and "shatter-proof"
block of technology to work with. Plus, once it is inserted into the PDA
"accessory" it becomes the same kind of mobile device as the OQO.
According to the company, as cool as this
technology is to geeks around the planet, they will be targeting the vertical
markets (medical, military, industrial sectors). Consumers will have to wait
until next year before they can begin to expect a consumer version.
The MCC specs run as follows; the unit weighs 9.1
ounces, features a 10GB HDD, 256MB of SDRAM, an 800MHz TM5800 Crusoe processor
(variable voltage of 0.9-1.3V), and can run any operating system from Windows XP
(shown above) to Windows 2000 or even Linux. Graphics come thanks to an 8MB
Silicon Motion Lynx chipset. There is no fan in the unit since the Crusoe
processor doesn't require it.
When docked in the PDA-like hand held shell shown
above, the 1400mAh battery has a lifespan of about 2 hours. The LCD touch screen
supports a resolution of 800x600 and is 5.8" in diameter. The only ports on the
unit are two USB, and two mini Audio jacks. Cost is expected to be comparable to
that of a high-end notebook computer.