FlipStart microPC Hits the Road

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr Rapoza's current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.
By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2007-03-15 Email Print this article Print

flip1.jpgA week ago I reviewed the new FlipStart micro-PC from the Paul Allen-backed FlipStart Labs. In that review, while I found the FlipStart to be cool, I was pretty down on it both for its high price (just about $2,000) and its size and clunkiness.

But I have till the end of the month before I have to send it back so I wanted to see if additional use would warm me up to the FlipStart's charms. So in the last week the FlipStart has come with me on a visit to the MIT Energy Conference and taken a train ride with me from Boston to New York where I was presenting at the Ziff Davis Security Summit.

Has my opinion changed? Well, I am getting much better at typing on the FlipStart, no longer accidentally hitting jog dials or the wrong keys. And the built-in EVDO connection was a lifesaver on the long three hour train ride, letting me surf the net and check e-mail.

But the size of the FlipStart weighed on me even more then I thought it would. The thing is still pretty darn bulky. And since I had to write and didn't want to try writing a long article on the FlipStart, I brought my regular laptop along as well. Having both a laptop and the FlipStart in a bag proved a little too heavy for walking around, certainly much heavier than having a laptop and a Treo or BlackBerry.

Also, the zoom feature proved to be very frustrating, especially when working in multiple windows. In many cases it would jump out of zoom when windows changed or refreshed.

While using the FlipStart at the Security Summit, many attendees came by to look at it and ask about it. And in all cases they laughed or said "are they nuts?" when I mentioned the unit price.

So after one week the only positive changes in my opinion have come in the ease of typing area. And of course the EVDO, though I guess all I really want is an EVDO card and plan.

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