OQO Model 01 – PDA and Notebook Computer Hybrid Device (Pics)

by Reads (26,283)

OQO is a San Francisco based company started by former employees from both Apple and IBM.  In January at the CES show in Las Vegas OQO unveiled a working model of their palm sized Model 01 notebook running Windows XP.  This week in New York they have the OQO Model 01 on display once again and have announced a Fall 2004 availability and a pilot test that will soon start.

The OQO is being shown at CeBIT New York this week (click for larger image)

The OQO will be squarely aimed at the business market and not consumer, but we all know that cool new devices make good toys as well, so no doubt individuals as well as businesses will be interested in this device.  The OQO Model 01 is designed to allow people to be productive and use powerful applications in the palm of their hand no matter where they go, the exact same applications that run on desktop computers.  Indeed, the OQO will use the same Windows XP Home operating system that runs on PCs. 

The docking station that comes with the OQO allows the device to actually be your main computer so a user can just arrive at their desk, slide the OQO into its docking station and start working as if the OQO were a desktop PC.  The docking station allows for output to a monitor, projector, DVD player, and external speakers.  The same docking station also provides an ethernet connection port, extra fire-wire port and extra USB 2.0 port (the OQO device has a fire-wire and USB 1.1 port built-into it as well for peripherals to be attached even without the docking station).  Using either Bluetooth or USB 2.0 you can connect a keyboard to the OQO and type away.  If you’re on the road, the built-in QWERTY thumbpad keyboard and trackstick allow for easy input.  Furthermore, if you want to slide the screen over the keyboard area, the OQO becomes a small tablet-style device.  An included digital pen allows for input when the OQO is in this tablet-style mode, a scrollwheel can also be used for screen navigation in tablet mode.

The screen can slide down over the keyboard for a Tablet style look and use

Wi-Fi 802.11b and Bluetooth are both built into the OQO for simple wireless connectivity with the internet or other Bluetooth enabled devices such as printers.  A 1.0GHz Transmeta Efficeon processor is used to give the OQO Model 01 optimal battery life, a key component of creating a truly mobile device.

It will be interesting to see where the OQO Model 01 will fit into the computing market and whether it will be utilized more as a PDA Style device or full fledged notebook computer.  I found that the OQO was small enough to hold and certainly easy to carry around, but the weight was rather surprising for such a small device.  It is obviously very dense, a small package with a lot crammed into it, so it weighs over three times as much as your average PDA.  Overall I find the OQO to be interesting, but it’s slightly too big and heavy to make me want to toss my PDA in favor of it, and it’s too hard to use the thumbpad input for me to opt buying it over an ultraportable notebook such as the IBM ThinkPad X40.  However, if you’re the type of person that craves convergence in devices and taking two gadgets and making it one, then your laptop, desktop computer and PDA might all go the way of the Do-Do for the OQO Model 01.

OQO is now piloting the device with 40 different customers at major corporations in the United States.  According to President of Creative Strategies, Tim Bajarin,  “I’ve seen heavy interest from medical, power/utility, transportation and government sectors.  I predict
OQO will sell every unit it can make during the first year or two, as there is
enough pent up demand for this great product.”
The OQO Model 01 will be available in the fall direct from OQO and via the
web site http://www.oqo.com.

Device Specifications

OQO Model 01

  • 1GHz Transmeta processor
  • 20GB hard drive (shock-mounted)
  • 256MB DDR RAM
  • Dimensions: 4.9″ x 3.4″ x .9″
  • Weight: 14 ozs
  • 800 x 480 W-VGA 5″ transflective display (indoor/outdoor readable)
  • QWERTY thumb keyboard with mouse buttons and TrackStik
  • 802.11b wireless
  • Bluetooth wireless
  • 4-pin FireWire (1394)
  • USB 1.1
  • 3.5mm stereo headphone jack (supports stereo headphone or mono headset plus optional multimedia controller)
  • Microphone
  • Digital pen
  • Removable lithium polymer battery, battery life 2-6 hours, depending on usage
  • Additional features:
    -Active hard drive protection that safely parks hard drive heads upon detecting freefall
    -Screen that slides on rack and pinion mechanism to reveal thumb keyboard
    -Shift, control, function and alt kets that have smart-lock with LED indicators
    -Thumbwheel allows for traditional scrolling as well as enhanced features
    -Ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts backlight to appropriate level
    -External antenna connector

OQO docking cable includes:

  • 3D accelerated 1280 x 1024 VGA video output
  • Additional USB
  • Additional FireWire (1394)
  • DC power
  • Audio out



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