Sitting down with DualCor Technologies at the CES

32 Comments

I had a great opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with DualCor Technologies’ President and CEO Steve Hanley to review their new ultra-portable handheld that is generating a lot of buzz since it appeared out of nowhere a few weeks ago. Steve was very forth-coming about the cPC and DualCor’s plans for the release of the combination Tablet PC and Windows Mobile 5.0 device. Steve brought two of the cPCs to our meeting and it was exciting to see them both in action close up and personal.

Two cPCs in a row. Notice the prototype portable keyboard. Sorry for the blurry pic- never take a brand new camera to the CES until you learn full operation of it. Click to make it even larger and blurrier.

DualCor cPC in tandem showing off both OS.

Windows XP Tablet PC mode.

Windows Mobile 5.0 mode. This photo taken just seconds after the Tablet mode photo.

A lot of the information I heard was not ready for public consumption but I found out some new information that I can share with you. There is a lot of misinformation floating around about the cPC and hopefully this will provide some accurate details straight from the OEM. Let’s take a look at the actual specs of the cPC:

Dual Os:

  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005
  • Windows Mobile 5.0

Dual processors:

  • Via C7-M 1.5 Ghz
  • Intel PXA263 400 Mhz

Hard drive:

  • 40 GB (shared between the two OS)

Memory:

  • 1 GB DDR2 RAM
  • 1 GB Flash memory

Display:

  • 5 inch touch screen
  • 800 x 480
  • 200 nits luminescence

Ports:

  • 3 USB 2.0 (2 Type A, 1 Type B)
  • Mini-VGA port
  • Compact Flash slot
  • Headset jack
  • Microphone jack
  • Speaker

LED Status Indicators:

  • Red- alert
  • Green- power on
  • Green flash- low battery

Connectivity:

  • 802.11
  • Bluetooth
  • 3G enabled

Battery:

  • 3.6 AH lithium-ion
  • Up to 300 hours of standby power
  • 3 to 8 hours of continual use (depending on operating mode)

Miscellaneous:

  • Speaker
  • Microphone
  • Mouse controls- trackstick, mouse buttons
  • Power switch
  • Volume control

Dimensions:

  • 6.5 ” x 3.3″ x 1.2″
  • Weight approximately 1 pound (depending on wireless options)

I have to admit I am very impressed with the design and engineering that DualCor has put into the cPC. The look, feel and operation of the cPC is very reminiscent of the Sony U-750. It is a very solid device and constructed to work in the field with few worries about the device. I was also curious how the Via C7 processor would perform compared to an Intel Pentium M chipset and am pleased to report the cPC is lighting fast. I was continually blown away how fast things happen when using the cPC. Touch an icon on the screen and the program opens in a flash. Push the icon to switch from Tablet PC to Windows Mobile 5.0 and if you blink you miss the transition. When the cPC is switched to Windows Mobile mode the XP “device” is put into a kind of hibernation for battery reasons. All controllers on the cPC are fully shared between the two OS so you can load up your data on the HDD and have it available to both “sides” of the device.

A lot of people are questioning what type of cellular 3G capabilities the cPC will ship with on launch and the answer is I can’t tell you. The fact is DualCor is in negotiations with US carriers and until that is finalized not even DualCor can answer whether the device will ship with GSM, CDMA or UMTS HSDPA. All are under discussion and what is impressive is how DualCor approached this from an engineering standpoint. The “cellular” layer is a modular layer that can be easily adapted to any of these wireless technologies in the manufacturing stage so there is a possibility down the road to find the type of 3G to be selectable. Very nice indeed. DualCor did state that the device will be launched without the cellular capability if things aren’t finalized by launch time.

The cPC is an amazing bit of ingenuity and DualCor says it will be available in March for $1500. They were adamant on both availability and price so the next few months will be quite interesting to see what else these guys come up with before shipping. I will be keeping in touch with DualCor and will of course revisit the cPC here on the blog whenever something new comes up. I know I want one.

32 Comments

mobilizer

What is the story with this device? Looks like amazing specs even over a year later when compared with the HTC Shift. Is it vapourware? What is the story?

Any news appreciated…

Jim H

Anything new on the CPC? I would like to buy one, but I heard they bombed.

Tracy Hooten

I simulated the size by enlarging a picture of it to the reported specs. It seemed a little big. I then pulled out my current cell phone I consider small. When the cell phone’s in talking mode, it’s the exact length of the mock-up cPC and only an inch or so wider. I don’t think I’ll have any problem using this as a regular phone, although it’d be nice using a headset (not much luck in the past with those, however).

Considering I eventually want all of the following: slate tablet pc, GPS for my car, an upgraded phone, and a handheld…well I’ll be jumping on the DualCor as soon as my checkbook signals green. Can you imagine the possibilities for integrating this baby with a car? Wow…beautiful. I can’t wait!

I could live without Bluetooth, but WiFi…wow, that’d be tough.

Now if only I can use Sprint with it!

Mike Cane

I think some confusion was caused by the phrase “WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G enabled” — it can be parsed more than one way. I parse it as “3G enabled” — which means, possibility of 3G later on, but WiFi and BT *built-in now*. Only makes sense that way.

Rob

It’s quite possible they could launch a quad band/EDGE GSM version in March. Carrier support not needed, just a SIM card slot.
WiFi & BT have to be built in, it would be a deal killer otherwise.

MiniMage

That predicted price is very depressing. I understand why it is that high, but it puts this beauty out of my reach. When I spend that much again, it will be for a Tablet PC that can play Age of Empires III.

Still, I do love the concept. As someone who has been dreaming of owning a PPC phone for some time, this is even more exciting. They broke out of the industry mold and gave the thing decent resolution, too, bravo! Only one thing (other than battery life): I’ve yet to see a photo of it next to someone’s head. Perhaps I haven’t looked hard enough, but I did go to their site.

Mike Cane

Do some Bs have 4 pins vs 5? I was looking at convertable USB cables recently and it seems the variety is just frightening.

Not only would no wireless built-in change the weight, it’d change the portability factor too. “Did I pack that WiFi CF/SD?”

And for the troll:

http://techdirt.com/articles/20060109/1012239_F.shtml

weatheryoko

JK,
Based on your response above, it sounds like you do not have a pre-production unit to test and evaluate. Is that correct?

I’m seriously concerned about the integrated vs. not-integrated Wifi and BT. If its not integrated, I’m not interested. Based on Chris’ remarks, your post [qoute] Weight approximately 1 pound (depending on wireless options) [quote] makes sense. If you need to add a BT or WiFi Dongle, it would change the weight.

Please let us know (as I’m sure you will) what you’re able to find out. Thanks again.

Also, when do you foresee a full review of this device?

Why the Type B USB connector? Can this be used as an “external storage unit” by another PC?

(This may be classifed as a stupid question): Can Type A devices (i.e. a USB keyboard) be connected to a Type B Connector (assuming you buy a Type A to Type B adapter)?

Thank you.

Mike Cane

Give me a break. This prattle sounds like the same nitwit who is trolling the handtops.com forum. Sorry to see his infection has now spread to this site.

Gemsmaker

JK, here’s *proof* of what I’m talking about here with these desperate oQoers.

The following is a link to the CNET review that states that DualCor cPC will have, as it goes to market in March 2006, wifi “g” built into it:

http://www.cnet.com/4831-11405_1-6412631-1.html?tag=cnetfd.sd

Not, CNET’s one of the best and most recognized reviewers of technology out there. To say that they don’t know what they’re talking about is like saying that you don’t know what you’re talking about with regards to technology.

Agenda’s fully exposed. The oQo-ers *are* going to *deliberately* do this. They’re shaking in their boots…

Gemsmaker

JK, beware, these false rumors are being spread by frightened and desperate oQo-ers (and perhaps by oQoers, at least employees themselves). There are plenty of public reviews out that that indicate to the contrary. For example, I just read one a day or so ago that is linked at handtops.com under the cPC DualCor forum over there that indicates that the “g” wifi standard is going to be in the March 2006 cPC production run.

The evident glee in these posts are all the intelligent reader needs to know about the oQo-ers fear driven “please don’t drive oQo out of business” agenda. :)

jk

Wow, Chris. I understood that WiFi and BT were integrated into the unit. With no integrated networking the cPC will be DOA at launch. Now that I think about it DualCor didn’t say the WiFi and BT were integrated but it never occurred to me that any PC today would be released without at least WiFi.

Chris De Herrera

Thanks for the update on the Dualcor cPC.

However just to be perfectly clear, there is no built in networking (wi-fi, bluetooth, ethernet or cellular (GSM or CDMA). These functions can be added using the CompactFlash slot or USB ports.

fil

jk,

Can you stress to the CEO that some of us want an integrated thumboard?

Is power truly 3 hours?

Did you have a Sony U with you to compare size and screen brightness?

The touchscreen was a passive digitizer? If so, did it have a floating TIP?

How did they keep the price so low even with Tablet OS?

If cellularis modular, if they don’t have it available at launch can a modular cellular card be purchased afterwards and used in the cPC?

Are there real performance benchmarks similar to the Ultranote benchmarks available for the Via C7-M processor in the cPC? This device appears to the first device sporting this processor.
Ultranote raw benchmarks for OQO 01 and Sony U750P: http://www.ultranote.com/index.php/content/view/181/202/

Thanks! Nice work. Can you quit your day job yet? ;)

palmsolo

OK, I understand there is no syncing. But how are applications installed on the WM 5 part of the device (CAB files)? I have a Tablet PC and other devices, but think this could really fill the role and be my main portable device and $1500 doesn’t seem bad when you think that it is a PC, Pocket PC, and a Phone.

jk

Gemsmaker, if cellular is that important to you then I would wait if the launch doesn’t have it. I don’t think it will be a user upgrade.

Mike, your 770 photos were MUCH worse. :) Re: syncing. The two OS share the same data repository so no syncing is necessary. The size is approximately that of the Sony U which I didn’t think was a brick. Palm OS will never happen so don’t hold your breath for that. I will have some high res photos in a day or two and will post them here.

Mike Cane

Wait: *$1500*?!!? Isn’t that $600 less than an OQO 01+?!

Yow!

Mike Cane

Wow, those pictures are almost as bad as my 770 pictures of months ago! Congratulations, jk!!

Seriously, is that thing as brickish as it looks? And thinking about it today, it hit me: they’re paying MS *double* OS royalties.

Can you sync the PDA with the PC?

Ditto on wanting to ditch the PPC OS for PalmOS. Just for the PIMs!

Send. More. Photos!

Gemsmaker

JK, do you think someone should buy the cPC in March if at time of initial shipment they don’t have a cellular phone agreement worked out? I wonder what assurances/protections we’d have that the early buyers would get hooked up with a carrier too if that wasn’t finalized at the time that we bought? Can you share any comments on that issue? re: the 3g connectivity, with usb evdo modems likely hitting the market (finally) sometime here in the first quarter, everywhere (that Verizon or Sprint covers) on wireless internet access shouldn’t be a problem at all to get. Just buy the usb evdo modem, get a Sprint/Verizon evdo wireless data plan, and away you go, right? But re: the cellular, should we buy the cPC if they don’t have a cellular phone carrier agreement in March at time of initial shipping do you think? It’s the built in cellular phone capability in one device that makes this *such* a sexy device to me.

Also, how does the cellular phone part actually work? how do you dial if there’s no built-in keypad? do you hold it up to your ear like a regular cellphone? Anything you can share would be gratefully appreciated! :)

jk

The cPC is very cool and the overall feel of the device is very solid. DualCor has put a lot of thought into the design of the cPC and it shows.

BTW, this post is via the new Treo 700w running WM 5.0 which simply rocks!

Scott_H

Wow, that is nice. So, they really do exist…

I want one too. Too bad the “PDA” OS isn’t modular, also. That way, they could swap out Windows Mobile 5.0 for Palm OS (there’s always something, isn’t there?).

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