Handtops

2

OQO, FlipStart, Sony U50, FlyBook, Tiqit, Antelope. Here’s a new class of device called a handtop. These are smaller than notebooks, but bigger than PDAs. Most run full Windows via a Transmeta chipset.
Our buddies at “Azure”:http://azurecap.com have funded “OQO”:http://oqo.com and I’ve ordered one to try it.
In looking at the device though, I’m not sure that the industrial market for data entry is the way to go. That’s too niche. Instead, I’d reposition the thing for the luxury consumer market.
Folks just love high elegance. And, the $1,900 price point and short battery life (3 hours) to me are the real problems.
If I were to do this, I’d make it gods gift to the high-end iPod. That is put an auxiliary processor in that is truly low power (use the same chipset as the iPod), so you’d get 14 hours of battery listening to music. Go to a 60GB disk (I’m sure they are), so that you get lots of disk. The thing that is changing is disk, not processor is the key thing for performance.
Then, I’d recraft the firmware so that it is a marvellous photo viewer (with the 5″ screen, its as good as a 4×6 color print), have it store the full image unlike the iPod Photo which shrinks things. Also, have a docking station software that automatically bails a DVD into a highly compressed MPEG-4 format so you can get 60 movies into a 60GB drive.
Then the thing becomes the executive notebook, but more importantly your complete repository for everything.
Other aside is that I’d stop saying 3 hour battery life, figure out how to get a benchmark with a light enough use mode to say 8 hours. After all if the so called 14 hour iPod life (which is really 8 hours) can be done, then 3 hours can stretch into normal use into 8 hours.
Anyway will be interesting when we get it.

2 Replies to “Handtops”

  1. Rich, I agree with you. I loved the Toshiba Libretto I bought back in 1997 and wish that PC vendors would create the 2004 version of that form factor (or smaller) to support music/video playback and web surfing in a very small package. It was small enough that I could toss it into any bag I had with me and not think about it. Keyboard doesn’t have to be very good — if it’s as good as a Blackberry and better than a cell phone, I’ll be happy. Only disadvantage I can remember is that the AC adaptor brick was as large as the whole Libretto, so it would be great to figure out a way to address that issue. At least if the AC adapter had retractable cords built into the unit, I would be a little happier.

  2. Yeah the Libretto was a great small machine. They do create these machines for the Japanese market and you can get them as imports.
    The idea of a web surfing device that is also an iPod is a great idea IMHO. There is going to be alot more innovation in form factor.
    Also if you get rid of heavyweight operating systems that will help alot too to get the price and weight down.

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