By Jon Fortt
October 16, 2006

Interesting tidbit from someone who would know: The next OQO handheld PC, which could be out as soon as the Consumer Electronics Show in January, will have a brighter screen, improved keyboard, more memory, a bigger hard drive and wide-area wireless capability, all for about the same price as the current model ($1,599 at the OQO store). It already has WiFi and Bluetooth.

(The OQO model 01+, pictured, is 4.9 inches long, 3.4 inches wide, and .9 inches thin. It weighs 14 oz., runs Windows XP, and has a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM, and a 30 GB hard drive.)

Lots of folks are skeptical about this category, but I think it’s got

lots of potential. As PC component prices continue to fall, I think

people will be interested in getting the full power of a PC in smaller

and smaller packages.

A good example is the shift to laptops, which began in earnest five or

so years ago. At first, people were buying these huge desktop

replacement laptops that got horrible battery life but packed in a lot

of processing power. After a couple of years, though, consumers wised

up: not only were 10-lb laptops unpleasant to carry, but the constant

hunt for a power outlet was a pain. Centrino-based gear got really

popular.

I can imagine similar trends driving the market for small PCs. Treos and BlackBerrys are nice, but wouldn’t it be great to carry a full-featured PC that can both grab e-mails and make Skype-enabled international calls from just about anywhere?

I’d expect voice to be the premier app on this revved-up OQO. Heck, I’ll sure want one.

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