OQO Model 02 Updated

VIA recently announced that it is beefing up the processor of the OQO subnotebook / Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) from the existing 1.5GHz to a slightly faster 1.6GHz VIA C7-M ULV processor. More interesting for future buyers of this tiny Vista-based device is the new wireless EVDO Rev. A, with data transfer rates of up to 1.4Mbps, improved upstream speed and lower latency. Potentially even more important is the fact that the update also offers enhanced storage capacity of up to 120GB, as well as an SSD (solid state drive) based version (manufacturer/size/price have yet to be announced).

The Original OQO model 01 was first revealed in 2004 and was available for purchase later the same year. The model 01 came with a small hard drive (20GB), relatively small RAM (256MB), slow connection (USB 1.1) and 5′ Transflective screen with a native resolution of 800×480. A year later, OQO released an updated model called 01+, which doubled the RAM size (512MB), improved the connectivity (USB 2.0 / 100 BaseT Ethernet instead of 10) and the touch screen accuracy. The hard drive also received a little boost increasing its capacity to 30GB. Other features remained the same as the original model, including the screen size, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections (802.11b and 1.1 respectively), battery life (4,000mAh), and of course the processor (VIA Transmeta Crusoe 1GHz).               

In January 2007, OQO announced the successor of the OQO model 01+,  named the OQO 02. This new model had several significant improvements over its predecessors including a faster CPU (VIA 1.5 GHz VIA C7-M), 1GB DDRII RAM, 60 GB hard drive, Bluetooth 2.0, and a full tri-mode WiFi (802.11a/b/g). OQO also added EVDO wireless connectivity which did not turn the model 02 into a 3G phone, but did make it capable of fairly fast data transfer. Originally, model 02 was released with Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, but Windows Vista based models are already available. 

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One of the OQO model 02 Achilles heels’ was its relatively short battery life (around 3 hours). The recently announced improvements to the model 02 seem to try and improve on this point by replacing the CPU with the new VIA C7-M ultra mobile platform, which was specifically designed for small form-factor Ultra Mobile Devices (UMDs). According to VIA, the VIA C7-M ULV processor is based on the CoolStream architecture and is manufactured using an advanced 90nm process with maximum thermal design power (TDP) of only 3.5 watts and as little idle power as 0.1 watts, for extended battery life. 

The OQO was never considered a cheap product meant to serve the masses. Squeezing so much into such a small package comes at a price – in this case around $2000 (for the original OQO model 02). Pricing for the improved version has yet to be reported but it is reasonable to assume prices will be similar or higher than the price of the original model 02 (especially for the SSD based option). 

TFOT covered several innovative UMPCs and UMPC concepts in the past, including the ZYPAD WL 1000 wrist-wearable wireless computer and UML’s Butler Ultra Mobile PC concept. Although it is not exactly a UMPC, MIT’s Interactive 3D Virtual Environment is a highly innovative portable computer design that’s also been covered by TFOT. 

You can find the OQO webpage here.