Packing 1GHz of processing power, 256MB onboard RAM and a 10GB hard drive into a area measuring just 10.5 x 7.4cm - that's smaller than this magazine - and 2.2cm deep, the OQO Ultra-Personal Computer is billed as representing 'a new PC category that could transform personal computing the same way the cell phone has revolutionised telecommunications'.
Recently unveiled at Microsoft's WinHEC Conference in Seattle, the OQO is a stand-alone handheld PC complete with Bluetooth wireless networking that is capable of being used as a laptop when connected to an OQO-designed cradle, or as a fully functional desktop PC when keyboard, monitor and mouse are added. This shift towards modular computing represents a concerted effort by manufacturers to bring personal computing to a new level of versatility and provide a boost for the hardware market.
Developed by San Francisco based OQO - which has a long involvement in the design of Apple and IBM laptops - with the aim of creating 'the full-featured, wireless PC', the 250 gram Ultra-Personal Computer is placed in a 'mobile enclosure' when on the move and the 10 cm, high-resolution LCD touch-screen becomes the interface. The device runs Microsoft Windows XP Professional and is equipped for FireWire, USB, audio out, and microphone connections - everything you would expect from a laptop. The ample hard-disk space also leaves plenty of room for your music collection and the lithium polymer battery provides about the same uptime as a laptop (approximately eight hours).
The Ultra-Personal Computer is expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2002 at a cost of between AUS$2000-$2400.