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OQO Price And Release Date Set 134

Posted by timothy
from the transflective-hifi-jumprope dept.
captainJam writes "After more than 2 years of development, the OQO is finally set to be released in October for a price tag of $1899. Initially the unit will only be sold through OQO's website. Those grumbling about the price should take into consideration that the OQO is by far the smallest and lightest XP capable handtop with a touchscreen, slide-out keyboard and Transflective display."
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OQO Price And Release Date Set

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  • but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2004 @03:45PM (#10356402)
    can it run linux?
    • Re:but... (Score:4, Informative)

      by klausner (92204) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @03:54PM (#10356459)
      YES. According to early reports it should be able to run anything that has been ported to a Transmeta processor. Like, oh, Linux.
      • YES. According to early reports it should be able to run anything that has been ported to a Transmeta processor.

        The processor is not the problem. Linux runs on many kinds of processor. The devices are the problem. Are there drivers for all the devices?

        It's clear that the machine is a hostile environment for Linux - there are only 2 mouse buttons. Made for MSFT crap. Nothing to see here, move on.

        • Re:but... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TWX (665546)
          "It's clear that the machine is a hostile environment for Linux - there are only 2 mouse buttons. Made for MSFT crap. Nothing to see here, move on."

          Uh, chord-middle anyone?
  • by Anonymous Writer (746272) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @03:47PM (#10356413)
    So soon?
  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @03:49PM (#10356431)
    Too bad it runs XP.

    "Hey y'all, check out the 1900 bucks of spyware I gots!"

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @03:50PM (#10356436) Homepage
    People who use this will have it bought for them by their companies, anyway.
  • Linux potential (Score:1, Interesting)

    by PuppiesOnAcid (792320)
    I think devices like these have the most potential for the public using Linux. Each one has virtually the same hardware, so there would be no discrepencies with drivers. Appears to be an all around handy little box, and the price is fairly reasonable in my opinion.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2004 @03:53PM (#10356452)
    I, for one, welcome our smallest and lightest overlords yet.
  • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross@yah o o .ca> on Sunday September 26, 2004 @03:54PM (#10356461)
    [Sarcasm]Gee whiz for only 1899USD you get a unreadable screen, with an underpowered CPU, too small harddisk, and battery life that does not exceed many lightweight notebooks![/Sarcasm]

    On a serious note, what I do not understand about these companies, like the Tablet PC companies is that these devices are ideal complementary devices. Price the device at less than 1K and people will buy these devices. Price them near 2K and they will be niche devices that people will look at, comment as interesting, and move on.
    • by Erwos (553607) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @04:12PM (#10356548)
      I thought it was obvious that they were aiming for corporate executives, not /. geeks.

      If you're making a a few hundred thousand bucks a year, an OQO is cheap. Hell, people spend six hundred bucks on a graphics card - is it really THAT crazy to see them spend a couple grand on a new super-small computer?

      Dynamism hasn't gone out of business, you know?

      -Erwos
      • Sure you will sell SOME, but the question is if you can make a business of it. I find it interesting how you are making the comparison, "If you're making a few hundred thousand bucks a year an OQO is cheap". These days there are not that MANY people making that kind of money, or at least those that have that kind of disposable income. These days people actually have budgets and have to account their monies spent.
    • On a serious note, what I do not understand about these companies, like the Tablet PC companies is that these devices are ideal complementary devices. Price the device at less than 1K and people will buy these devices. Price them near 2K and they will be niche devices that people will look at, comment as interesting, and move on.

      I agree - few people are going to interested in such a device as their primary computing device - it just doesn't have the power, screen real estate, or usability (keyboards reami
      • The things that would bring these devices into the mainstream despite the cost are

        What exactly is a mainstream use for these devices ?, why would everyone want one (even non geeks).

        I think these are obviously speciality items, if need a small computer at your hand at any time then this is for you. But most people don't have any use for such a device.
        • What exactly is a mainstream use for these devices ?, why would everyone want one (even non geeks).

          I think these are obviously speciality items, if need a small computer at your hand at any time then this is for you. But most people don't have any use for such a device.


          I think that's extremely shortsighted. Being able to have a powerful versatile computer that had the features I mentioned (large screen size, and powerful input system) on hand at all times would become indespensible as software technolog
        • certainly not mainstream, i'm a geek and i live out of my backpack. i write internet applications, usually on friend's computers after booting them with a live cd. my last laptop (a too-large, dell inspiron 5000) finished its life with the case cracked in 17 places and most accessories including pcmcia, cdrom, and floppy, failing (fortunately usb still worked). the main reason was that this laptop was too big for me to provide it with the extra care a piece of electronics requires.

          so a tiny little com
    • Price the device at less than 1K and people will buy these devices. Price them near 2K and they will be niche devices that people will look at, comment as interesting, and move on.

      Ever considered that, to design, develop, manufacture, market, sell and support these devices, you have to sell them for near 2K if you want to stay in business?
      • I think the parent posters point is that if you cant design, develop, manufacture, market, sell and support at a more affordable price point then you will be just as likely to go out of business.

        Why develop something no one wants ?

        • I think it's obvious people have wanted a small nearly full-functioned computer in this kind of form factor. It reminds me of the Psion 5 series, just smaller and updated for current tech. I mean, I would rather have something like this then have a PDA because then I would have access to a much larger library of software to run on it. But thats just me, I don't claim to be everyone.
      • Guess that it isn't a very good business plan if they won't sell at $2k, then, is it?
      • Why is it that Dell can sell PDAs at 624MHZ (which is probably fast enough to run Windows 2000 if it were x86 based) for less than $500 but when you throw a hard drive and a few other ports and switch to x86 suddenly the price skyrockets?

        The next Dell PDA is going to be VGA resolution also.

        The price gap between PDA and subnotebook is a constant but the performance gap is shrinking.

    • You obviously haven't held an OQO in your hand and used it. I have.

      Yes the screen is small, but its got a better resolution then any PDA screen I have seen. The screen is transflective too and works well in sunlight. More then I can say for a LOT of the PDAs out there.

      Underpowered CPU compared to what? Your O/C'ed desktop? Yeah, that would work really well for a PORTABLE device. Have fun carrying around your backpack full of lead-acid batteries to power your device.

      20GB is too small only if you intend on
      • Nope have not held an OQO in my hand. In fact if I did I would say, "COOOL", then ask for the price, and promptly put the device down again. Regarding underpowered CPU. My PowerBook is actually very powerful, has lots of diskspace, REALLY long battery life, and if you get the 12" size is pretty darn small.

        My point about the Tablet is that people who would want a tablet, do not just want the tablet. They will want the notebook first and tablet second. This is why essentially all Tablet makers switched
      • This is starting to get to be an old argument. Haven't hardware designers been working on low-power small-size for a while now?

        Don't laptops use off-the-shelf components from 3rd parties such as the processor and the graphics subsystem? Aren't these produced at a high enough scale to be as affordable as desktop equivalents? How much custom work is really necessary anymore besides the wiring on the board and the casing?

        I think the main thing with price is PERCEIVED value. The public is used to thinking
    • "On a serious note, what I do not understand about these companies, like the Tablet PC companies is that these devices are ideal complementary devices. Price the device at less than 1K and people will buy these devices. Price them near 2K and they will be niche devices that people will look at, comment as interesting, and move on."

      Hopefully I can clear this up a bit:

      Re OQO: Why would anybody want it? Listen man, it wasn't all that long ago people were getting modded up here for saying "People really d
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2004 @03:56PM (#10356470)
    Hardware: Tiny delight.
    Operating System: Utter shite.
    • by Erwos (553607)
      I see you've never actually tried running Linux on a real slate-style tablet. I have.

      XP Tablet Edition is much, much better than Linux if you're actually trying to be productive with the thing. I know that's a minor heresy to admit on /., but the current Linux handwriting recognition (Xscribble being the best I've seen) software just doesn't compare in accuracy or ease of use. xvkbd fills some of the gaps, but you aren't going to write essays with it.

      If you want to run Linux for Free software reasons on i
  • I'm at the site now, but it seems slashdotted. I want the specs, particularly the screen resolution. (I'm wondering what the screen res is for this "smallest handtop device", particularly since it can run XP and XP made a lot of VGA monitors obsolete when it insisted on greater than VGA as it's lowest supported resolution.)
    • Answering my own question, I found a working link. But the screen resolution is 800x480, when my copy of XP tells me that it needs at a minimum 800x600. Something sure as hell stinks! Is this little outfit getting a special build of XP (seems unlikely)? Why does the retail, full price version of XP insist on a minimum 800x600 display if XP can really run on less (obviously it can, there is no reason an OS needs a larger display, but it really stinks if MS put a limitation in the retail version that obsolee
      • "Is this little outfit getting a special build of XP (seems unlikely)?"

        Does "Tablet Edition" count as a special build?

        -Erwos
      • Windows can run at a hell of a lot of weird resolutions [toastytech.com] that are simply hidden from the Display control pannel applet. It'd get ridiculous if they crammed in every video mode your graphics card is capable of, so obviously, you have to draw the line somewhere. Many of the dialogue boxes, toolbars, and so forth in XP are huge compared to their Windows 95 counterparts. 640x480 is damn near unusable in Windows 2000, and I'd assume XP isn't much different.

      • Windows XP can run on 640x480; it's just hidden by default because they don't want you to. (And you really shouldn't either, because it won't be pleasant.) It is still accessible with List All Modes (Advanced > Adapter). That said, the other poster has mentioned Tablet Edition.
        • And you really shouldn't either, because it won't be pleasant

          What you "should" do is highly dependent on the application. As a general desktop this might be true, although I doubt that there is any reason I can't use a display at 640x480 under WinXP that was quite suitable at 640x480 under Win 3.1 (heck, XP even has more colors, so the display will look better, not worse. But that asside, there are many times when the computer isn't a desktop computer, it's away in a corner somewhere as a server, or is

      • Using Powerstrip you can force XP to run even at 320x200, although it is basically impossible to use.

      • When lacking a video driver, WinXP loads the VGASave service, which provides full 2D drawing support (albeit without hardware acceleration) at 640x480, and it will automatically try to up the resolution to 800x600 on the first boot. (It asks if it's ok, and then it pops up one of those "Changed screen resolution, can you read this? / Yes button / No button" boxes.) It subsequently boots to 800x600 until a video driver is loaded that supports another resolution.

        And while you can work the GUI at a lower
      • I heard that the hardware can do some kind of scrolling thing to simulate a full 800x600 display so nothing gets cut off.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      From http://www.oqo.com/hardware/specs/ [oqo.com]:

      * 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)
      * 3D accelerated graphics with 8mb video RAM
      * QWERTY thumb keyboard with mouse buttons and TrackStik&#174;
      * 802.11b wireless
      * Bluetooth&#174; wireless
      * 4-pin FireWire&#174; (1394)
      * USB 1.1
      * 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
      * Microphone
      * Digital pen
      * Removable lithium polymer

      • by Anonymous Coward
        > * Active hard drive protection that safely parks hard drive heads upon detecting freefall

        *That* is freaking cool. The longer the fall, the more time it has to react, and the bigger the mess that it just avoided. There have been times that I've experienced that slow-motion "aww crap, this is gonna be expensive" feeling, and finally someone builds hardware that can protect itself in these case. Very nice.
  • Overpriced? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    For that price, I can get like 20 junk computers and build a Beowulf cluster. I don't see the point in this.

  • by clarkie.mg (216696) <mgofwd+Slashdot@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday September 26, 2004 @04:01PM (#10356498) Homepage Journal
    The OGO [engadget.com], the OJO [engadget.com], the OKO [engadget.com] and the OQO ...

    OhGOd !
  • by melted (227442) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @04:04PM (#10356507) Homepage
    I can buy a mighty fine Tablet PC for less than that. Sure it will be a bit larger, but it has a _tablet_ behind the screen. I can actually write on the damn thing and it recognizes my chicken-scratch.
  • Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Erwos (553607) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @04:04PM (#10356511)
    Some intitial thoughts:
    1. 256mb isn't terribly good. 512mb would be better. That said, it's _probably_ acceptable for the kind of usage they're talking about.
    2. Who are they aiming this at? Photos seem to indicate business execs, which seems reasonable - they're the sort that actually use PDAs, and probably don't require huge amounts of multimedia power.
    3. Docking _cable_? For nineteen hundred bucks, I expect to see an integrated docking bay, one with a slot that I can slide the OQO into. Specs mention some kind of desktop stand, but that sounds kinda cheesy, to be honest.
    4. They need to make it a little more obvious that you're supposed to being using a Bluetooth cell phone with this thing for Internet access on the go.
    5. Battery life seems like it's on the low side - 3 hours just isn't all that long anymore.
    6. Security? If the corporate executive is using this thing, chances are he has some confidential info on it. An OQO seems easy to steal - is there any built-in encryption support?

    So, cool idea, but a little too expensive. I could see this becoming something of a status symbol in the corporate world, though. "Think that's a PDA? Well, take a look at THIS!" Surprisingly, I think they've addressed their target market pretty well - replaces the Blackberry, PDA, and laptop.

    -Erwos
    • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Informative)

      by gl4ss (559668)
      then you could like the flybook [dialogue.com.tw].

      higher specs, more 'innovative', 3g, looks nicer to use.. and it's cheaper.
    • My ideas for a mobile device are probably quite a few years away, but I think these features would be really cool: 1. Hologrpahic Keyboard: This way you could get the full sized keyboard and have it anywhere you wanted. 2. Built In Projector: This way the mobile device would be great for on the go presentations, and the projector could also function as a larger screen. It doesn't need to be a state of the art $1000 projector, just one that can get maybe 15-20 inches so it can be like a normal computer. Not
      • Well, your "holographic" keyboard is basically a reality right now. Canesta [canesta.com] has developed the hardware to project a keyboard on a flat surface and detect when you press down on each key. It is compact enough to be built into existing PDAs. I really wish someone would put out a PC based handheld or PDA with that technology built in!
    • 3 hours run time is not too bad, compared to the nitwit magnets called Pentium 4 laptops, where 1 hour is considered good.

      The specs are very good for a PC that is about the size of a pack of 3"x5" cards, just under 1" thick.
    • by jdkane (588293)
      OQO seems easy to steal - is there any built-in encryption support?

      The Windows XP Professional OS supports encryption of data for users, however I believe OQO comes with XP Home Edition, and I'm not sure if the encryption feature is available there -- my memory seems to indicate it isn't, and I'm too lazy to look it up, so if somebody knows different, please reply. Thanks.

    • ... will descend after enough corporations splurge on this to recover OQO Inc.'s costs. Expect it to be $1600 by the middle of next year.
  • MS tax ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by InodoroPereyra (514794) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @04:07PM (#10356525)
    This is a recurrent but valid question. From the preview [handtops.com]:
    The OQO comes with XP Home, but on account of the companies large interest in marketing towards mobile professionals, XP Professional will most likely be an option as well. OQO CEO Jory Bell confirms that the x86 architecture is capable of being used with any x86 based OS, such as Linux.

    Further talks have revealed that some OQO employees have already tested out Linux on the device with success.

    It's all good. So, can I buy it with no OS, with the cost of windows XP deducted from the total price ? Or do I have to pay the MS tax, even if I don't plan on using Win XP on it?
  • Wikipedia stub (Score:3, Informative)

    by antimatt (782015) <xdivide0.gmail@ORG.NET.EDU.com> on Sunday September 26, 2004 @04:14PM (#10356557) Homepage
    The Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] needs some serious work. Calling all knowledgeable nerds.
    • Hmmm, seems pretty accurate to me. What do you consider missing?
      • The article consists of four general sentences. Nothing is inaccurate as far as I can tell; it's just lean on details in a "where's the beef?" sort of way.

        I myself don't have anything useful to add to the article. Hence the cry for help.
  • by mrklin (608689) <ken...lin@@@gmail...com> on Sunday September 26, 2004 @04:14PM (#10356562)
    Kills two vaporwares with one product release!
  • Quite cool. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bbum (28021) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @04:52PM (#10356775) Homepage
    I played with an OQO at Foo camp. It is the real deal.

    The display is impressively clear in both low light and direct sunlight. As a whole, the produce is very well engineered and the UI felt relatively snappy.

    It does run Linux and uses the same hard drive internally as an iPod. Battery life is fairly decent, given computing power, and the battery is designed such that you can upgrade to a higher capacity battery that is simply thicker than the original (making the entire unit thicker).

    The screen is also touch sensitive and there is a stylus slot in the top of the unit. As such, one could definitely read email, browse the web, navigate meetings/schedules/calendars, and read documents without having to pop it open to use the keyboard.

    The keyboard certainly does not have the feel of a full sized board, but is surprisingly usable for the size.

    One of the neatest features is the "docking cable". Basically, OQO will provide a cable that has all of the various different ports -- usb, firewire, video, etc... -- hanging off of it.

    The unit has a cradle that you can leave on your desk. It has VGA out. So, in combination with a bluetooth keyboard/mouse and an external monitor, you can drop the OQO into the cradle and it "just works".

    Certainly not a primary machine for gamers or developers, but a damned nice little device for folks that want a portable computing device that offers a more real computing experience than a palm device, blackberry, or the like.
  • Those grumbling about the price will get a laptop from Averatec for about half the price.
  • some vaporware that may actualy materialize... it it too soon to call half-life 2 vaporware?
  • ... how does one put software on this device? There's no CD-ROM drive! I didn't see anything like that in the video, either. Any ideas?
  • whats the deal with them having an adjustable backlight on a transflective display?

    i thought most transflective displays had no backlight.
    • Well, looking at the word "transflective" I can only guess that it's a mixture of "reflective" and "transmissive", meaning that it relfects some light in order to illuminate the display, but has a backlight to boost the output.
    • As far as I understand, all transflective screens have backlights.

      How else would you see them in the dark?

      The difference is that when used outside a transflective screen doesn't compete with the sun and uses natural light to illuminate the display. So the backlight isn't needed in bright light, but is in low light.

  • Lets be realistic. This thing is really cool, and I'd love to have one. But I'm not about to shell out $1900 on it. I suspect most others will react the same way, with a "cool, but..." response. It begs the question: "DIDN'T ANYONE DO ANY MARKET RESEARCH ON PRICE POINT?" I suspect that it wouldn't be terribly positive. Now, if the price was $999 things might be different. It might become my favourite travelling toy. As it is, I'd rather have a Blackberry or Palm for those times I leave my real machine
    • Why is it that people always complain that something is too expensive. I'm certain they did do market research as to the price point, but I suspect they also want to make money. Those minature components are not cheap, and this is a very capable device.

      As an owner of a desktop, laptop, palm and office laptop, I would seriously consider this kind of thing as a replacement for a lot of my stuff. Not to mention a small powerfull devise to use with a digital camera.

  • I almost placed an order with these guys 2 years ago!!! I was a huge transmetta buff and wanted a small laptop. They wanted to happily take my deposit, and ship me the unit when it came out in the fall of 2002! Anyways, I didn't bite.

    anyways 2 years later, they are still claiming to have a unit "coming out in the fall".

    If you want a tiny palmtop pc, check out the sony u-series, available in japan, or via dynamism.com importers.

    The latest of the incredibly popular U-series, the 1.2 pound Sony Vaio U7

  • I dunno. If what you need is a pocketable Linux workstation, the newest Zaurus, at $600 or so, is probably a much better option. It will even run X-windows apps with a little work and recompilation. Is the Oqo worth $1200 in convienience? Will recompiling the apps you need for the Zaurus cost you more than $1200 in billable time? It's unlikely.

    I suppose if you're tied to proprietary apps, or just want to compile x86 code while sitting on the airplane toilet, the Oqo is a fine choice.

    Windows users tied to
    • The newest Zaurus, at $600 or so, is probably a much better option. It will even run X-windows apps with a little work and recompilation.

      Then you can have mine, if you wish. The Zaurus is the most expensive completely useless toy I ever bought.

      Will recompiling the apps you need for the Zaurus cost you more than $1200 in billable time? It's unlikely.

      I did spend way more than that time trying to get OpenZaurus / OPIE running on that thing. It still doesn't really run. OZ / OPIE is highly unstable. The o
  • Of course everyone wants it all for cheaper, but there are a few things to consider here.

    1. This is supposed to replace a laptop and a pda for an executive. This is not a primary machine for someone who is coding or gaming. Email, Word, Excel, Web browsing, etc. These are the target apps, so the specs speak to that.

    2. This is a new class of device. The price point is obviously high relative to PDAs because it's NOT a PDA.

    3. This is Rev. A hardware. It's been two YEARS in the making. How long bef
    • 4. Gimme this form factor with a 1ghz G3 running OS X and I'm a buyer. Windows does nothing for me

      The story goes that the company's founders used to be associated with Apple's laptop department. They came up with the idea of the tiny laptop and offered it to Steve Jobs, who rejected it as being unsuited to Apple's product mix.

      (Understandable - at the time Apple would still have been recovering from the fallout of everyone sniping at the Cube. Not much encouragement around to try radical form factors

      • What really gets me is that the Transmeta chip can emulate other processors but they've never written the code. If only they'd code it to emulate a PowerPC chip...

        I recognize that you'd still need the Apple OpenFirmware to install OS X, but at least we'd be one step closer.

        I'll bet that given the consolidation we've seen in the PDA market and the "lack" of support in Garnet (PalmOS 6) for the Mac platform (yeah yeah Missing Sync yada yada yada), Ol' Stevie is kicking himself for sending these guys out-o
  • Ultraportables (Score:2, Informative)

    by ultrapcs (804963)
    Hello All. Here is a nice web site that discusses the new class of portable computers ultra pcs : http://ultraportables.net/ [ultraportables.net] or http://u-pcs.com/ [u-pcs.com]
  • by xombo (628858)
    I guess I'll have to release another of my children into slavery and sell some stem cells.

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