OQO: PC in a Pocket

The New York Times writes:

Thanks to some of the very advances in miniaturization that make hand-held gadgets possible (bright indoor-outdoor screens, two-inch hard drives), these guys have devised the world’s smallest Windows XP computer: 4.9 by 3.4 inches and less than an inch thick. They pose an intriguing question: why would you buy a bunch of gadgets designed to liberate the data from your PC if you could just shove the entire PC into your pocket? It’s called the OQO.

OQO the company has big plans for OQO the computer. It claims to have generated wide interest in industries like insurance, field sales, public safety, manufacturing and health care. For example, doctors and nurses could call up patient records at home, on the road or, over a wireless network, anywhere in the hospital.

But if you can get over the lack of a CD drive, there’s a lot to be said for the OQO even for individuals. When your digital camera’s memory card gets full, no worries; just offload the photos to the PC in your purse or pocket and keep shooting. You don’t have to transfer your videos from your PC to one of those $500 video players for your train ride, because you’ll have the PC itself with you. And forget about printing out your MapQuest driving directions or your Travelocity travel itinerary from your PC. Why bother, when you can open the original electronic document at any time?

OQO’s claim that you could use the OQO as your sole computer is a tad far-fetched; its limited memory, speed and storage would probably put a crimp in your computing style. It’s not cheap, either, although it’s in line with laptop prices: $1,900 with Windows XP Home Edition installed, $2,000 for XP Professional. And the battery life is disappointing: about 2.5 hours per charge. At least the battery is removable, so you can swap in a fully charged spare.

Otherwise, though, OQO is the most elegant, versatile, solidly build miniature PC possible with current technology. Its creators have blown the concept of the digital hub to smithereens, and given whole new meaning to the term pocket PC.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.