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OQO Model 2+ becomes £3k collectors item

Pocket PC attracts premium on eBay

The unreleased Model 2+ ultramobile computer from defunct PC maker OQO is getting plenty of attention on eBay, presumably for its value to collectors.

Bids for the fully functional, pocket-sized PCs have gone past $4,500 (£2,750) in multiple eBay auctions. That is nearly four times the original price of the devices.

One individual had bid $5,000 (£3,030) for one of the ultramobile PCs as of Thursday, after 26 bids, with four days left until the auction ends. An earlier auction ended with the bidder paying $4,500 for a Model 2+.

The auctions come just months after OQO was forced to shut down after failing to find a buyer. The company unveiled the Model 2+ just a few months earlier at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It was considered ahead of its time, and Intel ferried the device around the show floor, showing it in multiple demonstrations to build excitement around the Intel Atom processor family for mobile devices.

OQO gained a reputation as one of the few companies to offer handheld computers with full PC functionality. Known for innovative features and cutting-edge designs, the company introduced its first product, the OQO Model 01, in 2004. Though highly anticipated, the OQO devices were too expensive to attract many buyers at the time.

OQO announced that the Model 2+ would ship midyear with prices starting at $999. The company started taking orders but ceased operations before the device shipped.

Based on an Intel Atom Z-series processor running at 1.86GHz, the Model 2+ weighed less than 1 pound and came pre-loaded with Windows Vista. Some of its features included a 5-inch-wide OLED (organic light-emitting diode) touch screen, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking. It also included a Qualcomm Gobi chipset for mobile broadband connectivity through networks based on the CDMA2000, EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) and HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) protocols.

But this week, questions lingered among OQO fans: were the Model 2+ devices on auction for real, and why would someone pay such a high price for one? In a message board on OQOtalk, a forum dedicated to OQO device users, some said the unit for sale might be one of a few prototypes that were released by the company, and the OLED touch screen made the device worth it

"Obviously $4,000 is worth it for the only one of its kind," wrote a poster going by the name Zorg. "I don't see how you could dispute that."

But others questioned the craze around the device, saying the initial euphoria would ultimately die down. "I have been wondering why I would do something like that - is the extra functionality really important over what I currently have or would it just be cool to have such a rare device?" wrote a poster going by the name of Marovada.

A highly skeptical poster, Intfan, wrote that the price was too high and that it would be better to wait until it was relisted at a lower price.


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