My post yesterday that covered my quest for a handheld PC generated a lot of great commentary.  One thing that is very clear is how passionate mobile PC owners are about their gear of choice.  Based on some of the comments I feel it’s a good […]

My post yesterday that covered my quest for a handheld PC generated a lot of great commentary.  One thing that is very clear is how passionate mobile PC owners are about their gear of choice.  Based on some of the comments I feel it’s a good idea to clarify my thought process a little bit, and fill in how I currently use my mobile devices.

First of all, I am not looking to replace any of my current gear.  The Lenovo ThinkPad x61 is my main workhorse and I carry it with me when I am going to Big Oil Company for extended periods.  It is a great laptop in addition to the Tablet functionality and there is nothing better when I’m working at a desk and banging out endless long reports.  I carry it into meetings too and ink reams of notes about the various projects I manage and the search function is my main productivity booster.  Searching my ink is a must and the x61 is the best all-around Tablet PC I’ve used to date.

I don’t want to replace the Fujitsu P1610 either.  When I only have one or two meetings scheduled on a given day or I just want to run out to a coffee shop and work I grab the Fuji.  The combination of the small size and weight coupled with the functionality of the Vista Tablet PC bits are unbeatable in this scenario.  Grab and go comes to mind when I think of the Fuji.  I also use the Fuji when I want to sit in the comfy Man Chair in front of the TV and work the web, it’s so good in that scenario.  I use both the Fuji and ThinkPad almost every day in different settings and I don’t want to replace them.

I have enjoyed the utility of having an ultra-portable PC as I described in the earlier post and that is the functionality I miss.  Even the Fujitsu P1610 is too big to take everywhere, especially if I’m heading into a situation where I might not use a PC at all.  It is easy to take a handheld (read very small) PC at those times because it takes almost no effort to do so.  It’s great to have along, though, when spare time crops up and I have a device with me to make the most of it.  I’m not looking to replace anything I currently use, rather to augment them.

Twohands_02overviewThe OQO Model 02 with integrated EV-DO is definitely looking good at this point.  The size is right for what I need, and even though the integrated keyboard is not important to me I can see the utility of having it there.  As an experiment I visited the OQO web site and configured the setup I would need to be productive.  Here is what I found after the jump:

Here’s the configuration I made at the OQO site:


This includes the 1.5 GHz processor (I won’t skimp in this area), 60 GB HDD, integrated Verizon EV-DO, Vista Business, 1 GB of memory, WiFi and Bluetooth.

I added the executive bundle which brings the dock with DVD burner, extra standard battery, case, etc.  I also added an extended battery which I must have on all mobile PCs I use.  I added an extra AC adapter, something I also always do with mobile PCs.  This configuration includes an extended 2 year warranty for $150, along with the digital pen which OQO doesn’t include standard but you must have to use the ink functions.

That’s it, and as you can see this configuration would set me back over $3,000 with shipping etc.  Wow, that’s a huge investment!  So right now I’m still sitting back and thinking this whole thing through again.

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  1. Indeed, a hefty price for the size and power… I’m not sure that I would be willing to drop that kind of money for a device that will not be my primary computer…

    Of course there are some, like Hugo Ortega, who have made their OQO a primary machine (docking it while in the office etc., and so having a full size monitor, good keyboard, mouse and the rest).

    My problem is that I use Mac OS as my primary computing system. So, I find that I use my Macbook for alomst everything, however, I always carry my UX180 in my bag (both as a backup device in case the Macbook should fail), but also to watch video’s etc. on a flight.

    I will be teaching in Oxford in a few weeks and so will take only my UX with me (leaving my Macbook at home) for the first time… It will be a bit of a test to see if 1) I can cope with Windows, and 2) I can use such a small machine as a primary machine for a few weeks.

  2. The one question I would ask you is how you would (or do already) keep the 2 (Lenovo and Fujitsu) or 3 (if you include the OQO) in sync so you have all of your files accessible to you at any given time. For instance, you are working in your coffee shop on the Fuji, but one of the files you need is back in the Lenovo (and viceversa). Are you using any workable solution for this? The OQO would add to this complexity unless you already have it worked out.

    My selfish reason for asking: I am considering getting a 12 inch tablet myself (I already have the Fuji P1610). I find that the Fuji is a bit slow/sluggish with Vista, and I could also use some extra screen real estate. So, I am curious on a workable way to get all these machines synced (I remember there was some folder syncing software available, but am not sure if it is any good).

  3. Based on what I’ve read, the OQO really nails its niche. I tried it out at a local MicroCenter. I think it does everything I want a handheld PC to do. However, yeah, it really is a serious investment.

  4. James Kendrick Saturday, July 21, 2007

    Fernando, excellent question and one I meant to touch on in this post but forgot. I will be doing a more formal review in the future but I use the free Microsoft Foldershare to keep all my devices in sync. I make sure that all data I need to have access to no matter what device I’m using is in the Documents folder tree. I have a sync job set up on Foldershare to keep the Lenovo in sync with the Fujitsu. It works with no interaction from me and mere seconds after I create or modify a file (or bring the PC online) on one computer it is updated on the other. I then sync the Fujitsu with the MacBook Pro so it’s up to date too. Clean and simple.

  5. Hi JK, I’m also mulling over the OQO 02 at almost the same price. It’s hard to drop that kind of cash on something so small, but if I can (ahem justify) imagine a long list of realistic usage scenarios in my line of work (education), I will do it for sure. Honestly, if I will really _use_ it, then the purchase is worth it.

    This is kind of a lame question, as it can only save us $29, but I was under the impression that any “penabled” pen will work, right? I bought an extra pen for my x61 (we have very similar taste in devices), and I was thinking about using it with the OQO 02. BUT, I have a kind of nerdy, geeky, need for the OEMs. Ahh, well, I’m glad to see that someone else is contemplating this purchase.

    Build Your UMPC (never bought from them before) is selling an “exclusive” essential pack that might be of some use to you. http://www.buildyourumpc.com/category-s/192.htm

    Good luck in the decision making process; let us know what you decide to do.

  6. James Kendrick Saturday, July 21, 2007

    Jamie, you’re right, I think any PenEnabled pen would work and that includes my Cross pen. I could probably punt on the $29 OQO pen.

  7. No way! Toss the ‘doze, tos ‘nix, get yourself a handheld DOS box! Try a PC3100 or a Poqet and run Nettamer with a modem. Monochrome rules! I’d suggest a handheld PDP8 running OS8 with a port of Lynx, but it might be kind of hard to source. No worrying about service packs since they don’t exist. There was an Intersil/Harris chip called the 6100 that emulated the PDP-8E…

  8. The OQO price is why I am seriously considering the Everun despite the poor graphics support.

  9. Frank McPherson Saturday, July 21, 2007

    I am curious because it seems you use multiple Verizon EVDO cards or integrated in devices, can you have multiple cards associated with the same Verizon EVDO account? That is very cool if true.

  10. James Kendrick Saturday, July 21, 2007

    Frank, unfortunately no. I have one line with the AirCard and another data plan (albeit cheap) for the BlackBerry. If I picked up a device with integrated EVDO I would have to add another plan unless I dropped the AirCard. I can justify it as I use all in my business.

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