Windows XP Handhelds: The Next Small Thing
Who (besides Microsoft) says you need a separate flavor of Windows to run a handheld? Unique approaches three startups are taking toward a new form factor brings new power to portabilityI started writing this column on a computer running Windows XP Professional, but also on a handheld with no desk or other flat surface to support it. That paradox is provided by the namesake computer of Tiqit, Tiqit is neither the first nor most recent company to try to shrink the PC to its practical limits, but it may be the most successful and indeed only choice for something near its dimensions when it ships in the U.S. later this year.
Read the follow-up column: A Deeper Look at the Tiqit and Windows XP Handhelds
The idea of the mini-PC or sub-subnotebook (before marketing departments renamed that category "ultraportables") has been around for a while, The first one I tried was the IBM ThinkPad PC110, a Japanese clamshell palmtop 486 that has clearly influenced the current Sony Vaio "U" series. This is especially true of the PCG-U101 that is also exclusive to the Japanese market but imported by specialty retailers such as Dynamism and Kemplar.
Anyone who has used palmtops like the seminal HP 200LX or the first Windows CE devices will have some idea of the input challenges these products present, Overlay on those the awkwardness of dealing with a version of Windows optimized for neither the size nor speed of such a device.
|Oqo||Tiqit||Vulcan Mini-PC||Sony PCG-U101|
|Dimensions||4.1" x 2.9" x 0.9"||5.9" x 4" x 1.2"||5.4" x 4" x 1.1"||7" x 5.5" x 1.3"|
|Weight||<9 oz.||20 oz.||Approx. 16 oz..||1.94 lbs.|
|Processor||"Up to 1 GHz" Crusoe TM5800||300 MHz Geode||"x86-compatible"||600 MHz Mobile Celeron|
|RAM||256 MB||256 MB||256 MB||256 or 512 MB|
|Hard Disk||15 GB||15 GB||20 GB||30 GB|
|Screen||4" touchscreen||4" touchscreen at 640 X 480||5.8" screen at 800 X 480||7.1" screen at 1024 X 768, ATI Mobility Radeon-M|
|Ports and Slots||USB 1.1, 1394||USB 1.1, IR, PC Card,. SD Card||USB 2.0||USB, 1394. Memory Stick|
- Vulcan, which appears poised to undercut the Japanese Vaio in size by at least an inch in both height and width, has stayed true to the clamshell form factor. However, its small size may make using it standing up more practical. It will even take advantage of the latest wide-screen trend in notebooks, delivering 800 X 480 pixel resolution on a 5.8" screen.
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