Further hardware problems for the OQO


Oqo_model_01_3Last month I reported a rash of hardware problems with the OQO that were being reported by the first group of consumers who took delivery of the ground-breaking ultra-portable.  I reported those problems because it appeared the first units were flawed and while early adopters always take some risks when they jump on a new device’s bandwagon the types of problems users have encountered coupled with the number of users reporting problems set off alarms.  I have been an early adopter of many new gadgets but I have never seen so many complaints about any new device like I have the OQO.

Several weeks ago a number of new OQO owners reported that the A/C adapters were making loud buzzing noises and this again set off an alarm with me.  These same owners are now having these adapters burn out completely after just a few weeks.  In some instances the power problems are also resulting in dead batteries that must also be replaced.  OQO is giving owners an RMA to return the device for service but in the case of a dead adapter they are making the owners return the adapter rather than just shipping out a good adapter for replacement.

All of these problems really makes me wonder why they released the units with these very obvious defects.  From poor WiFi performance that is observed by most OQO owners to common blue screen hang-ups it is obvious to me the OQO is not ready for prime time.  Let’s face it, if a device runs so hot that it leaves burn marks on the included plastic stand there is something inherently wrong with the design. 

Readers of this site know I am a big supporter of mobile technology and cool gadgets like the OQO but what I have seen since the release of the device has me very concerned.  In all the years I have been involved in mobile tech I have never seen such a buggy device, especially basic problems like power adapters and WiFi performance.  If OQO doesn’t clean up its act with the units it is shipping there will be big problems for this company that has only the one product.  It will be a shame because the OQO is a fantastic design that could pave the way for other mobile computers down the road.  I hope they resolve these problems before it is too late for the company.  In the meantime I would not recommend the OQO until all current problems have been addressed by the company.  Caveat emptor.



well its now 7th of march 2006 .. and my device just arrived a week ago.. no hassle and all kool. ! this device rocks and well.. if you expect the 1km uber super longrange wifi on a device like this.. then..well. it is just useful to connect quickly and does all i need for. the company did grow and the faulty devices is history. in my opinions- everyone that is scared of this device reads 1 year old posts. go for it and enjoy it. and well.. you still can tweak it and get a pretty decent performance – i even run audio programms like cubase and wavelab on it – and hey.. asio 4 all forks fine with it. i get a very fast latency with it. killer


I don’t own the OQO, but I am waiting for delivery on the U750P. I am responding because this site isn’t the only one reporting user issues/problems/bugs (whatever you want to call them) with the OQO. Glad to hear you haven’t experienced the problems that others have, but due to the information available I have decided against the OQO.

Also, if you look at all the content on the site, it’s obvious that jk is not a SONY-only guy.


The main reason I have reported on these problems with the OQO is that no one else is doing so. There are a lot of prospective buyers who are not techies and they don’t see the user’s complaints on the forums. It would be remiss of me to fail to bring it to the attention of anyone considering the purchase who is not in a position to deal with these types of problems.


I’d really like to buy an OQO, but really, I’m just too scared – I don’t have the time to waste messing around with problems, or wondering if its perhaps “this” time that its going to BSOD in the middle of something….

Another handtops.com blogger:- tnkgrl – is on her 4th OQO – having returned 3, inc 1 DOA. Such perseverance is beyond me.

I’d love to see OQO being successful. However, with the way things are going, buyers like me are going to wait to see if things improve.

The longer we wait, the more likely that ccompetitors will enter the market – the Flipstart for example, or that we’ll buy something else because we have to.

It’s also a little sad to see owners of the OQO who haven’t had problems being so defensive. Obviously, the larger proportion of shipped OQO’s are fine, but there seems to be a very signficant chance of receiving a faulty unit. To deny this fact makes many of these owners sound just a little desperate…

The fact that OQO is a small Company, and that this somehow excuses a significant failure rate is not an acceptable proposition, period. If I spend $2000 on a PC, whether its an OQO or an IBM, I expect it to work.

Gotta agree with JK on this one.


I am not that familiar with the U101. Why would being a U owner make me criticize the OQO? That is not the way I work if you were familiar with my writings. There is no such thing as the perfect device for everyone and it would be presumptuous of me to believe that any device I use should be used by everyone to the exclusion of all others. I stand behind my buggy device comment. One of the Handtops members is undergoing their 5th RMA with the OQO. FIFTH.


jk, was’nt the U101 more buggy than the OQO ?

I don’t mind your criticism of the OQO, I expect it since you are a U owner. I just resent your harsh “buggest device ever comment”. That was a cheap shot.

I got to give it to you though for not deleting my post above. Thanks.
That handtops guy captain deleted it and here you are, the subject of it, and you did’nt delete it.
You’re the man.


On the WiFi = poor for small devices I’ve owned two Pocket PCs that are much smaller than the OQO and the WiFi range is as good as my laptop’s. Small size does not excuse poor WiFi range.


I forgot to mention- I too use a BT phone in hotel rooms. It is sweet to be able to connect to the internet from anywhere. :)


Great overview of your experience, Bill! That’s what I love to hear- how users benefit from their mobile technology. I have been following the “love/hate” thread over on Handtops that you linked to. It is good to hear so many people hyped up about their technology. I too like OQO as a company and hope they get everything squared away soon. But I do differ on the customer service POV. In my experience you usually get better CS from small companies. Big companies may have a larger CS infrastructure but customers often get lost in the huge numbers. Smaller companies usually provide one on one CS much better. Thanks for your POV.

Bill Kervaski

I’d just like to say that I love my OQO. The wifi is a bit weak but not unexpected from a device this size. I did have to RMA due to a dead pixel, but overall am very excited to have it. (By the way, the RMA process took 3 days, sent it Monday, got a new one Thursday).

Please see this post for a non-scientific poll of handtops.com users:


I’d love to see OQO success. They have the right business model and the right key players. They are a small company right now so don’t expect Dell-like customer service until they grow a bit.

The design is oustanding. I used the guide on tweakhounds.com to tweak the OS up a bit and increased my performance considerably.

The coolest thing I’ve done on my OQO you ask? Well, having my Bluetooth enabled mobile phone sitting in my bag across the hotel room, dialing up seamlessly and instantly to the Verizon network through my mobile phone from my OQO across the room and getting 3x modem speeds to boot.

I rate it a 8/10. I would give it a 10/10 if the wifi was better.

It definitely nails the “Cool Factor” dead-on.

Bill Kervaski


Here is a post I put on handtops.com regarding you.

jkhendirck has a web page called jkonthrun. Most of you are probable aware of his web site however I would bet that you had no idea how he makes false and dishonest statements.

Here is my reason for saying this:
Currently, on his web site, he slams the OQO for he says, “being the buggest device I have ever seen”. He then sites the weak wifi and a power adapter problem that, so far, I have not experienced at all.

Here is his lie exposed:
He is a huge Sony proponent, current U owner and former U101 owner. The U101 had pixel problems, wifi problems, and batteries that resulted in premature burnout. It had other serious problems also. These things are much more serious than all of the worst OQO complaints combined. He would be more honest by stating that the U101 was the buggest device he had evr seen.

He also is dishonest by stating that the short range of the wifi is a defect. The short range of the wifi is what I expected and am very happy with from such a small device.

I previously respected him and thought that his web site was cool however now that I realize he uses his web site as a plateform for pushing his own personal likes and dislikes over other sometimes more superior products than, I will visit his web site much less in the future.

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