OQO’s Ultrapersonal Computer Hits the Shops

OQO have launched their ultrapersonal computer, the OQO Model 01. At 4.9” x 3.4” x 0.9”, it’s the size of a largish PDA, and has a 5” touch-sensitive 800 x 480 screen. Inside, though, it’s definitely not a PDA – it’s built around a 1ghz Transmeta Crusoe chip with 256mb of RAM and a cushioned 20gb hard drive. The sort of specification seen in laptops three or so years ago, though Bluetooth and WiFi (b only) are built in. OQO claim around three hours of usage on a single charge.

The screen slides back over the unit in a sort of rack and pinion arrangement, revealing a 52 button keyboard. Graphics are handled by a 8mb 3D accelerator. A docking unit is available so that your OQO can be connected to a DVD drive, external monitor and a keyboard you don’t have to be an Ewok to use.

All this miniaturisation comes at a cost – the Model 01 will set you back US$1900 (€1533!), so you’d better have a really good reason to justify buying this over, say, one of the smaller notebooks.

The Model 01 will run Window XP, though reports on performance are not good – the 1ghz processor struggles with Microsoft’s behemoth of an operating system. Since the 01 will run some Linux distributions, users following the path of the penguin might get better results. It could be handy for those who regularly give presentations – it can be attached to PC projectors, and Mandrake with OpenOffice might be a good solution for this sort of work.

OQO Model 01

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?