‘Ultra-personal computer' design team has Apple pros

‘Ultra-personal computer' design team has Apple pros

A startup company called OQO has announced the "world's first ultra-personal computer", a wireless device that is about the same size as a Palm handheld but can "transform" into a notebook or desktop PC that runs Microsoft Windows XP.

The OQO pocket PC incorporates up to a 1GHz Crusoe TM5800 processor from Transmeta, a four-inch, super bright VGA colour LCD, Synaptics touch-screen; 256MB of onboard RAM; 10GB hard drive; FireWire, USB, audio, OQO-link connectors; and 802.11b wireless networking and Bluetooth. The Crusoe processor inside the OQO runs at 800MHz and contains 512KB of cache. Despite this, the pocket PC's batteries supposedly last up to 9.5 hours.

As a standalone device, the ultra-personal computer slips into a shirt pocket. When inserted into an OQO-designed enclosure, it becomes a notebook PC. When placed in a cradle with a standard screen and keyboard, it becomes a desktop PC.

The OQO team has a background in designing Apple and IBM laptops. Their ultra-portable PCs are expected to be commercially available in the second half of the year, with an expected price of around $US1,000.

The company also has executives, engineers and designers from such companies as Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oracle and Transmeta.

The OQO uses the same tiny hard drive from Toshiba that Apple Computer incorporates into the latest iPod. A lot of the design work at OQO, which was founded by engineers who worked on Apple's Titanium PowerBook, went towards reducing the size of the power supply and the overall integration of the components, according to executives.

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