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New OQO ultramobile PC launches in the UK

Options include XP, Vista and solid state disk

The OQO ultramobile PC (UMPC) is launching in the UK, with the company also dropping hints about an additional version that will handle cellular data.

"The OQO has had flak in the press, but it is the first device to show convergence between laptops and mobile computing," said Roger Butterworth, chief executive of Expansys, which is selling the new OQO e2, which was launched last week in the US The existing OQO 01 is the leading UMPC in sales from Expansys he said, having sold 3,500 units out of the 10,000 UMPCs sold off the site, over the last 18 months.

"It's this product that persuaded me to move from Palm," said Martin Day, the new director of international channels at OQO, who was EMEA sales director at Palm until a month ago.

The e2 has a £ sign on the keyboard (the US version already has a €), and OQO is considering producing other keyboard versions such as azerty for German speakers, said Day. It is being launched with a full kit of accessories, including a docking unit with a CD or DVD drive, and an Ethernet/VGA connector, as well as mobile charger/adapters and optional double-sized batteries.

The device avoids the frustrations of smartphones and laptops, having the enterprise support and screen that phones lack, without being as large and unwieldy as a full-sized laptop, said Day. It weighs a pound, and comes with 1GB of RAM, and hard disks from 60 to 120GB (costing from £1,149 to £1,299) or a 32 GB solid state disk (£1,649). Users can choose to have XP Pro, XP Table, or have Vista Business and Office for an additional fee.

The first version, the OQO Model 01+ received good reviews.

OQO claims three hours active use from a normal battery, and six from the optional double-sized one, with three days and a week of standby respectively, and these figures are fairly realistic, according to Butterworth -- he reckons to get 2.5 hours on a standard battery, with Wi-Fi turned on all the time.

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