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View Full Version : The New 'pocket PC'?


Brad Adrian
04-17-2002, 04:19 PM
<a href="http://news.com.com/2100-1040-883861.html">http://news.com.com/2100-1040-883861.html</a><br /><br />Here's an article forwarded to us by Darren Humphries about a new PC that startup company OQO is developing. It's essentially a very small Windows XP-compatible PC that can supposedly double as a handheld and desktop computer (via a docking station).<br /><br /><img src="http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/images/oqo.jpg" /><br /><br /><a href="http://www.oqo.com">The OQO Web site</a> includes a few specs:<br /><br /> Powered by a Crusoe TM5800 processor at up to 1 GHz<br /> 10 GB hard drive<br /> 256 MB RAM<br /> 4-inch VGA color LCD touchscreen<br /> Weighs 250 grams<br /> Lithium polymer battery<br /> Built-in 802.11 and Bluetooth networking<br /><br />The article also gives some perspectives on the market viability of such an all-in-one computer. My favorite line, though, is the opening one:<br /><br />"First there was the pocket calculator. Then there was the pocket organizer. And if start-up OQO gets its way, the next big thing will be the pocket PC."<br /><br />(Guess the writer doesn't know about OUR little hobby, does he?)<br /><br />This kind of product has been a kind of "holy grail" in the computing industry for several years. Personally, I know that I use my Pocket PC for MUCH more now than I did a year ago, but I don't know if I'd really want a handheld device that completely replaces my desktop. I use them for different things, and even the OQO system would force me to make compromises on both the portability side and the desktop side.<br /><br />Am I alone?

Janak Parekh
04-17-2002, 04:48 PM
Heh, talk about overloading the term "Pocket PC". :)

Does look very cool.

--bdj

Jason Dunn
04-17-2002, 04:51 PM
There are some things that simply don't work with the concept of true mobility, and a hard drive is one of them. The heat, noise, power drain, and inability to take a good hit makes me want to avoid any product that uses them other than a laptop and desktop.

If they had shipped this with a gig of RAM and used a RAM drive, hey, THAT would be cool! :-)

marlof
04-17-2002, 05:15 PM
I don't like the idea of an hard disk either. But I have another worry: downsizing the XP UI to a screen the size of a Pocket PC sounds like a bad idea to me. Even an optimized UI that resembles too much of the desktop can be a bad idea on something this size. Anyone remember the PalmSize PC?

They say they're going with XP, so yes, theoretically you could run all Windows XP apps.... but most are created with at least 800x600 or 1024x768 in mind. So what solution will they choose? An embedded version of XP, where they might lose the benefit of ultra compatibility? Scrolling around on a virtual screen, like you can do with Virtual Display?

bblock
04-17-2002, 05:41 PM
Isn't this just like the IBM product I read about a few months ago - a 'core' unit with processor and hard drive that can be either a PDA-style device, laptop, or desktop, depending on what type of 'station' you plug it into?

Charles Pickrell
04-17-2002, 05:44 PM
Whine whine whine! I held a similar device at our user group meeting last month from Tiqit computer ( http://www.tiqit.com ) and I have to say it is excellent! It was fast, had long battery life and the hard disk was absolutely silent. It has an integreated keyboard a pointing stick, and a touchscreen. I'd really love to have one of these things and I think this will be the way handheld devices will go in teh future.

sesummers
04-17-2002, 06:34 PM
I don't know if I'd use this as a Pocket PC, although there'd be plenty of room on the 10G hard drive for pocket applications to mirror the desktop ones. But as someone who carried a mini-tower PC with a handle screwed to the top for many years, just so I could have my home and work environments the same (and I wasn't willing to live with the compromises of laptops of 5+ years ago), I can say that carrying your whole PC around is pretty nice.

But to make this REALLY useful, it needs a jack for one of those eye mounted displays somebody recently announced- that use 3 LEDs (now that blue is practical) and a micromirror to "paint" a full-size display right on your retina.

sundown
04-17-2002, 07:40 PM
When I saw the picture at first I thought someone had dug up an old picture of the first handheld or something. While there isn't anything next to it for size relativety, that thing looks huge! I admit I am wanting my Pocket PC to do more and more for me, though. Maybe whereever the "real" Pocket PCs and this monster converge will be pretty neat.

Charles Pickrell
04-17-2002, 08:00 PM
Here are some pics of the tiqit

http://www.mobilecomputingsig.com/images/tiqit.jpg

http://www.mobilecomputingsig.com/images/TiqitandMouse.jpg

don dre
04-17-2002, 08:28 PM
Aside from my other concerns about the lack of expansions slots, built-in cell phone, I ahve to admit it is an interesting attempt at a pocket pc. I have a toshiba hdd pccard woth the expansions pack and it is sturdy. can go joggin with it though the expansions sleeve is bulky. i hope to see more vendors use toshib's technology. who needs a laptop anyways, how mobile is that?

Charles Pickrell
04-17-2002, 08:33 PM
Aside from my other concerns about the lack of expansions slots,

The Tiqit has aPCMCIA Type II slot and a SD Slot. It also has USB and IRDA.

marlof
04-17-2002, 09:10 PM
I still wonder what Photoshop looks like on that screensize. Yes, I know, you probably think I'm a whiner.... ;)

Charles Pickrell
04-17-2002, 09:36 PM
I still wonder what Photoshop looks like on that screensize. Yes, I know, you probably think I'm a whiner.... ;)


Waah! Just kidding. I don't think you would want to use this for any seroious Photoshop work. The processor is peppy, but not that peppy. The screen was very clear and crisp at 800x600, but people with vision problems might not like it. I think this would be more useful in the vertical markets and for certain business professions (writers for example). I'm sure that professional photographers could use this on the go fo some simple photo editing, but I'm not sure if the color fidelity of a flat screen would do the photos justice.

What the developer really promoted was the docking port. You can take this little guy out of yoour briefcase or purse and dock it to connect a full screen VGA monitor, network connecitons, mouse, keyboard, etc.

IpaqMan2
04-17-2002, 09:54 PM
This amazes me to see PPC users find fault with this. It reminds me of the old Palm verses PPC argument.

Truth be told, I would think most PPC users would welcome something like this if the formfactor and designed was just right, (size, weight, batterylife and so on). No one can argue that having a full fledge desktop OS on a PDA could be anything less than the current PPCs are today. Sure there may not be as many "portable" PIM apps for the desktop OS, but that would be just a matter of time.

This device would not replace my desktop pc, but could very easily replace my PPC for good. This would mean I could truly go mobile with my desktop apps and bring the office with me, with out the worry of any loss to functionality as we currently have with the Pocket Office apps, or the lack their of for apps that don't even exist for the PPC.

I welcome this and hope to see this live through.

st63z
04-18-2002, 12:09 AM
Wow, the OQO device is comparatively thick and heavy at 0.9"D and 8.8 oz... but it's only 4.9"L x 2.9"W (smaller than my iPAQ)!! 4" 640x480 screen, plus ALL those built-in goodies, for about 1000 bucks, yowza. I wonder what its battery life will be like...

And Tiqit's eightythree is equally impressive at 5.4" x 4" x 1.1" @ 20 oz, considering all the hardware it's got built in. But what's the estimated price (and is the 4+ rated batt life too short in real life)?

All these companies hard at work since 1999-2000, working toward a common vision :) I wonder if they all use Toshiba's 1.8" HDDs? Also, it'd be great if someone could compile a comprehensive CPU power/performance table for ARM cores, Transmeta, Geode, ultra low-power PIII's, etc, to help put things in perspective (next to impossible, I know, given the different architectures and optimized usage patterns).


BTW, I came close to buying one of these computer-core module type things a couple of years back (but it didn't have a touchscreen for PDA use or anything, it was mainly for carrying the core from place to place).


EDITED to say: This has been a happy, happy news day! Let's hope the flow continues all through the end of May! :D

Sven Johannsen
04-18-2002, 03:01 AM
Wouldn't bother me in the least of someone made one of these about the same as a paperback book. That wouldn't be eccessively large (bet many of you carry one of those around) and it would make the screen size reasonable. You could read on Reader at a size similar to a book. We already suffer through scrolling around a virtual screen, unless there is someone out there that is going to claim they use Terminal Service Client with the Nyditot res set at 1024x768 and fit to screen. I'm sure I saw an add that had a 20G Toshiba PCCard drive (New creative Jukebox?), so by the time you market this thing we should see easy 20, maybe 40G. Heck my Sony Vaio slimdock only has 15.

I'd love one. One caveat. It is pretty easy to sync Outlook on my PocketPC with my Jornada. Anyone know how to do the same thing with my current laptop (and future OQO)????

I mean connect, and hit sync, not some kludgy thing with psts.

Rob Alexander
04-18-2002, 04:54 AM
It's a good time to think about movement in this direction given the recent discussions we've had about mobile phones and PPCs. Many here believe the phone and PPC will converge over the next couple of years, but I think this is the direction the non-PIM parts of PPCs are going to go.

I believe phones will be smart phones in the future with PDA functions, and maybe a few games, but nothing much beyond that. I don't really see that as a convergence of PPC and phone since the PPC is so much more than just PIM apps.

But I've often thought that this non-Intel PPC model had to give way eventually to full desktop functionality in the PPC form factor. This, the IBM product, the tiqit, the Tablet PC, and all the others that are getting ready to hit us are where we're headed in the long-run and these are what will converge with the PPC for the Pocket PC of the future.

My predictions are that the convergent device will have most of the following characteristics.

1. They will have small hard drives at first, but eventually will be all solid state.
2. A variety of screen sizes ranging from about 4" diagonal (current PPC size) to around 12" (tablet size). Some smart software developers may even build alternative large screen and small screen UIs into their products.
3. Intel-compatible CPUs. One of the major advantages of these things will be the interoperability with your desktop software. Sure some things need a bigger screen to run optimally, but would you rather not have the ability at all?
4. For those who use them, these will be their only PC, but we will still dock to a larger LCD and keyboard in our offices.
5. Wireless communications will connect them into our office/home networks and will synchronize them with our smart phones.

I don't know if I'd buy this particular one... I'd need to know a lot more about it first. But I do think it's movement in the right direction.

charlie
04-18-2002, 05:52 AM
this oqo device is what the pocketpc really wants to be and doesn't know it yet. come on, would you rather deal with syncing all your information to carry it with you when you're mobile or actually have everything on you? if it had good OS support to provide a secondary windowing system optimized for small screens when you're mobile, you would never have any reason to buy a desktop/laptop/pocketpc if you were into portability. Good OS support for doing all your tasks on a small screen is crucial. Such a high degree of integration has its drawbacks like poor upgradability, poor servicability and less options for hardware customization than a desktop but I think it's well worth the mobility you get. the only reason I have a pocketpc is because I can't get one of these yet.

charlie

bchristian
04-18-2002, 02:02 PM
I like what Rob said about some aspects of the PPC going the way of integration with the phone and others going the way of something like the OQO or the Tigit.
I don't see why anybody would have a problem with any aspect of it. I will answer some of the criticisms one by one:
1. The screen. So it is 640x480. It is a lot better than 240x320. With software you could simulate 800x600 or better. No problem there.
2. The hard drive. I carry around an Archos Jukebox that contains a 6GB hard drive. I have never had a problem with it. I toss it in my luggage. I have dropped it, etc. No problem. I also have a 1GB microdrive in my iPaq and have never had a problem. It does lower battery life though but it doesn't seem to lower it any more than my Mr. Flash 256MB card did. And since I only paid $195 for my microdrive for 1GB I can live with it.
3. Battery life. They claim it will last 8 or more hours! How can you complain about that?
4. Too big? My iPaq is too big too when I add the functionality I need with the CF sleeve(I have the silver slider but still too big). It is AMAZINGLY small for what it does. I currently carry a Kyocera Palm/Phone combo and an iPaq with CF sleeve and 1GB drive. I LOVE my Kyocera and sometimes only carry this when I want to go light. But when I need more power I carry the iPaq too. I can DEFINITLY see a device like the OQO or the Tigit replacing my iPaq.
Pluses:
1. MORE software! LOTS more!
2. Bigger screen!
3. Longer battery life than my iPaq.
4. Dockability.
5. REAL windows XP. I know this is redundant. ;)

In short, as I see more and more PIM functionality getting into phones it may be that we are at a fork in the road. Why not have all the PDA functions you really need in your phone and carry a "Pocket PC" that is a REAL PC in your pocket or briefcase for when you need more.

The only complaints I have about it are that I would like a keyboard built-in like the Tigit and I wish it had a PCMCIA slot. Of the two the PCMCIA slot is the most important ingredient missing. Put that in and you have winner in my opinion. I would vote with my wallet for this even at $1000. Then again I still like the form factor of the HP clamshell Jornadas. I just wish they ran real Windows. That would be something. Get the functionality of the OQO into the HP Jornada clamshell form factor. I would buy one of those in a heartbeat.

Aceze
04-18-2002, 04:44 PM
I dont find it surprising that PPC (or even Palm) users dont look toward these new devices with too much fondness. Dissapointing, but not surprising. I think there's far too much limited thinking going on in the PDA markets of today. Too much "mine is better than yours!" and too little "how can we advance this format?".

Personally, I eagerly await the day I can leave forever the "PDA" market with its proprietary hardware, specialized software etc. I find the OQO (and devices like it) extremely promising for the following reasons:

1) x86 instruction set. Guaranteed immense pool of software. Text too small? No problem, just up your font sizes, or use virtual screens. These machines will guarantee the advent of software designed to take more advantage of the size.
1a) Your processor, as well, is industry standard, and MORE than fast enough to act as a full fledged desktop PC. The TM5800 CPU running at 800mhz has been benchmarked (a varied benchmark that you can see here using the Passmark benchmark test: http://www.leog.net/ftp/PerfRes.gif) at about the speed of a P3-700mhz. These are numbers culled from the Fujitsu P-series laptop (which I'm considering to replace my PPC). More than capable for just about any job - even video editing!
2) Never having to depend on MS or Palm (or anyone else) to dictate hardware specifications. Let the market REALLY innovate.
3) REAL OS FREEDOM. You want linux w/ whatever GUI, go nuts. BeOS? Sure!, XP/NT/2K - whatever. The built in Accessability options in all OSes are inherently able to deal with the smaller screen size - remember, 640x480 isnt so unsupported like 320x200.

The only thing holding all of this back, as it has been since the portable market was born, is power technology. LiPoly batteries are a good alternative, but one that is still not as effective as necessary. Hopefully, battery technology will advance to a point where it does not become the limiting factor for portability anymore. If the OQO has good battery performance, I will probably not thing twice about leaving PDAs altogether.

Aceze

GlobalFlyer
04-24-2002, 05:06 PM
Hi,
the main advantage of WINCE-OS is the instant access you have to your data. With the OQO and XP you would have to boot the whole thing or wake it up from stand by (I would not like the idea of carrying the OQO on standby the whole day - battery life and harddisk risk).
Also if you loose your OQO on the way ALL ist lost! Who makes an Backup every time before living the house???
With an PPC you are more or less forced to without any trouble.
What do you think?