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OQO Bringing iPOD-Sized Personal Computer To Stores

OQO is launching what it considers to be the next evolution of the desktop PC, a 1GB Windows XP-based computer the size of an Apple iPOD music player.

Called the OQO Ultra-Personal Computer, the unit is the equivalent of the most powerful laptop available, the company said. It uses a 1GB processor with 256MB of RAM and runs Windows XP Professional. It has a 10GB hard drive and offers 802.11b and Bluetooth wireless connectivity as well as USB and Firewire ports.

The OQO is designed to slip into a desktop-style docking station or a laptop version where the OQO slides into a docking shell like a CD-ROM drive or external battery. A modem can be included in the docking station.

The unit has a touch screen and OQO is working with third-party vendors to produce compatible folding keyboards and thumbpads.

OQO CEO Jory Bell expects to offer the product by the end of year at prices ranging from $1,000 to $1,500, that includes a desktop cradle.

Bell maintains that ultimately people want the functionality of a full computer. “It’s the same power as a laptop but you can’t put a laptop in your pocket. The PDA has synchronization issues. We think people want a full-featured computer with them but they just haven’t been small enough.”

Bell said the company will sell OQO through its Web site initially as well as through consumer electronics stores. The product will be co-branded with a consumer electronics supplier to be announced, said Bell noting that OQO has been in negotiations with consumer electronics suppliers for several months and expects to reveal the name of its marketing partner in the near future.

Several former Apple employees who worked on the Apple Powerbook founded OQO just over two and a half years ago.