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OQO launches desktop PC you can put in your pocket

The Tablet PC and Pocket PC specifications may be the future for Microsoft, but IBM and San Francisco firm OQO are working on releasing miniaturised desktop PCs in a handheld format, writes Eric Doyle.

This new category of PC, dubbed by OQO the ultra-personal PC, runs standard Windows XP software, unlike either of Microsoft's systems which require PC-incompatible binary code for applications and operating systems.

The IBM systems, which are believed to be experimental proof-of-concept PCs, will probably not appear until 2003 at the earliest but OQO appears to be ready to release its product in a matter of weeks.

The San Francisco firm demonstrated its product earlier this year and Giga research fellow Rob Enderle said this category of modular computer has proved to be a very popular concept in surveys among the analyst firm's clients.

"This is one concept that actually could transform the technology industry and ensure a more steady revenue stream preceded by unprecedented and, potentially, incredible growth," he added.

The 802.11b and Bluetooth wireless-enabled OQO device uses Transmeta's Crusoe chip backed by 256Mbytes memory and a 16Gbyte hard drive. Combining this with a colour VGA touchscreen, these specifications will run Microsoft's Windows XP Professional yet the device is slightly smaller than the HP iPaq Pocket PC.

The company has not announced a price but says it hopes to keep it down to about $1,000 (£650).

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