OQO launches Vista-capable pocket PC

OQO's first ultra-mobile PC with built-in 3G support is now available in the UK for £1290.


OQO's first ultra-mobile PC with built-in 3G support is now available in the UK for £1290.

The OQO e2 is a full PC that includes a 3.6Mbps HSDPA modem, plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It's about the size of a paperback book, but heavier, and will sell in the UK through Expansys. The XP version costs around £1290, although the OQO e2 also supports Windows Vista.

It features a 5in, 800 by 480 pixel WideVGA screen, a 1.6GHz low power VIA processor, and a full ASCII keyboard that slides out from under the screen.

When the keyboard - which includes a thumb-operated joystick - is closed, the e2 works as a tablet PC. It has touch-sensitive horizontal and vertical scrollers in the screen frame, and can also be used with a pen – it has to be an active stylus though, as the screen is not touch-sensitive.

The e2's 3G modem will fall back to UMTS or GPRS where HSDPA is not available. OQO CEO Dennis Moore said that this version will not be sold in the US: "3G wireless has spotty coverage in the US, but it's great in Europe," he noted, adding that versions for other European countries would come next.

The device cannot be used as a mobile phone for voice calls, though Moore said it could be used with a headset for VoIP, over Wi-Fi or a 3G connection.

He added that the e2 will sell here network-unlocked, and with or without a wireless contract. That's unlike in the US, where the equivalent model features an EVDO data modem and is sold with a Verizon or Sprint connection.

"There's so many carriers to certify with here in the UK," he said. "In the US you need that relationship, but here we can be in the market without that."

Non-cellular versions of the OQO e2 have been available for some weeks. Moore said that integrating the extra radio had presented challenges, especially in such a small format.

"It's combining all these radios and antennae that made it hard to do," he added. "You can get simultaneous operation of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G, and next year there will be GPS too."

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