March 8, 2007 Paul G. Allen’s FlipStart Labs has taken a while in bringing its first product to market but the highly-anticipated FlipStart will ship to customers before the end of the month. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates and since bowing out of Microsoft he has shown a keen eye for investing in key technologies before their time. He is now one of the world's richest men and the Flipstart is one of his passions – it’s based on the premise that mobile professionals have too many devices and need full functionality in one pocket-sized device. "I've always been captivated with problems that really need solving,” says Allen. “What should exist and how we could create a solution. Years ago, I began to imagine a super compact computer that would allow us to connect, communicate, work and relax, no matter where we are. One that is intrinsically intuitive to use. FlipStart is the first commercial product to meet that vision; it simply works as expected."
With a design based on extensive user preference research and usability studies, FlipStart has a clamshell design, runs full Windows apps, and comes with a full complement of communications, entertainment and constant connectivity in a convenient form factor.
Whether sitting at the office, standing in line at the coffee shop or traveling between destinations, FlipStart is comfortable to use in people's hands, on a desk or mounted in a vehicle.
David Daoud, research manager at IDC, a global provider of market intelligence, advisory services and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets, said, "FlipStart is instantly appealing because of its familiar, intuitive form factor. FlipStart's power stems from the combination of its accessible design and constant connectivity, allowing people to get work done and be entertained wherever they go."
FlipStart will be delivered with the choice of Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Microsoft's new operating system, Windows Vista Business, delivering support for the business applications needed by today's mobile professionals for full productivity wherever they are. With FlipStart's bundled port replicator, professionals can connect to full-size monitors and keyboards in an office setting or plug in a projector to present at a meeting. FlipStart also facilitates entertainment. Users can play their favorite games, watch movies or listen to music with their favorite media player.
Proven to Work for Mobile Professionals
FlipStart Labs conducted extensive research with mobile professionals to determine what they need in a portable device. Although laptops, cell phones and PDAs have improved mobile productivity, research indicated that a gap still exists for mobile users. According to this research, there is strong need for a highly usable PC with the functionality of a home or office workstation that is small enough to tuck into a bag. Research also indicated that above all else, people want a device that is easy for them to use whether they are sitting, standing or traveling. Independent research reveals that people's typing speeds on FlipStart are 16 to 26% faster than on similar products by competitors.
"Our goal with FlipStart is to evolve the quality of mobile computing to the next level," said Robin Budd, senior director of FlipStart Labs. "People want a device that is easy to use, packed with the power to run their vital applications and that enables ongoing connectivity to e-mail and the Internet."
FlipStart delivers on these needs with the following features:
Intuitive and Durable Clamshell Design
Today's professionals need to be productive in various scenarios whether catching up on e-mail while waiting in line for coffee or working on a presentation while sitting on an airplane. With FlipStart's flexible design, users can thumb type while standing, rest the device on a table to work on a document, or take a moment to play a game. The FlipStart lid offers increased durability and protects the 1024 x 600 pixel high- resolution 5.6" display and QWERTY keyboard.
Whether at the office or on the go, FlipStart offers multiple connectivity choices including direct LAN connection, embedded Wi-Fi, Bluetooth wireless technology and mobile broadband for high-speed cellular data access at DSL speeds.
One thing professionals don't have time for while on the go is powering up their PC to get a phone number or to quickly check e-mail. FlipStart's exclusive InfoPane feature gives instant, low-power access to the information that is needed in a flash. The FlipStart InfoPane lets users see their Microsoft Outlook e-mail, contacts and calendar without having to even open FlipStart, eliminating the need for a separate device to provide this information quickly and easily.
FlipStart Navigator and Nine Levels of Zoom
FlipStart offers a highly compact model and it doesn't compromise on providing a quality experience with the 5.6-inch display. FlipStart's Navigator feature provides a quick way to access frequently used information on a compact display. Navigator allows automatic access to e-mail, calendar, contacts and frequently used applications and folders. FlipStart's Zoom feature allows users to enlarge a specific area they're working with - for instance a window or Web image - as well as a whole application up to nine levels. Unlike similar features in other products, it enlarges the whole application and the text.
FlipStart simplifies navigation on its compact display with dedicated keys for things users do the most. For example, Ctrl+Alt+Del finally has its own dedicated key, as well as Navigator, Zoom, Windows Desktop and Windows Toggle.
Complete integration with standard hardware
A full featured port replicator allows professionals to make presentations from their FlipStart or connect to full-size monitors and peripherals, or their company network when back at the office.
Embedded Bluetooth Wireless Technology
With built-in Bluetooth technology, users can connect to peripherals such as mice, keyboards, stereo headphones, headsets, etc.
Industry-Standard OS, Applications and Processing Technology
FlipStart provides the business applications professionals require in order to be fully productive. This includes Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Microsoft Windows Vista Business