jkOnTheRun first look at the Vulcan FlipStart- YouTube Edition


The good folks at Vulcan were kind enough to send me a pre-release evaluation unit of the new FlipStart ultraportable PC.  The FlipStart is essentially a tiny laptop complete with a full QWERTY keyboard, trackpad, trackstick, integrated EV-DO, and a secondary display in the LID.  It’s taken a while to get the FlipStart out the door but it appears Vulcan has used that time wisely with a lot of attention to detail and a very solid build quality.

The unit I am using has a Pentium M 1.1 GHz processor with 500 MB of RAM, A 30 GB hard drive, Windows XP SP2, integrated EV-DO, and a web cam.  I used the web cam to make a video call to Marc Orchant and it worked pretty well so I can see the FlipStart as a great mobile communications device using VoIP.  I recorded a 20 minute quick overview of the littlest laptop and have posted it here for your viewing pleasure.  I’ll have the device for a few weeks and I’m sure this won’t be the last you’ll hear or see of it.


C Johnson

Talk about too much for too little. Pay attention folks, this is how to take 5 to 10 year old technology and sell it for 10x what it is actually worth.

I would pay 200$ for this monstrosity and expect the XP license to be included.

Would I pay more? No, not a damn dime.

Actually, would I pay at all? No – it looks klunky and ugly. Thumb keyboard looks more like a cramped finger keyboard as the size is too large to hold and type with your thumbs without moving your hands.

Ohhh, look a webcam… BFD. a 10$ feature nowadays. Well if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s an even larger hardware dead end than a laptop. I doubt this sucker runs vista (actually, you can be 100% sure it doesn’t run glass), and I seriously doubt you would want to try if it did.

I’d rather get one of those new overpriced monstrosities from Microsoft, at doesn’t it wouldn’t need a “man purse”.

Remember folks, if you wanted this technology in a desktop, you would have to check the local bargin buyer or craig’s list. No one actually sells anything that old any more. So ya, I kinda doubt the lines to spend 2g’s on this beast are gonna be MIGHTY short.

Simon Coulthurst

James, thank you for a very interesting and quick to cyberspace video review. Oh, and ignore all the b*llsh*t comments from the Steven Spielsberg wannabees out there. I for one was just glad to get a first glimpse.


OK, I am a real life TV Producer, but I am no snob.
Videos like that should be made illegal.

What are you thinking as you watch that? Not only the bright light pointing at the camera, but for Petes sake, this is video, if I had 20 minutes I could do War and Peace with room for commercials.

A modest suggestion. Get some editing software, but thanks anyway for your efforts.

Don't Panic!

How does it work outside James? Does the screen washout?


just saw James’ twitter msg using the flipstart! how cool is that! I’m almost certain my next computer will be a micro/ultra mobile/mini laptop :)

Cheers James!


Nice vid. Thanks for sharing :)

I want to get a 2nd system for myself [currently I have a work/personal notebook running WinXP home], I was listening to your podcast + reading around here and I think you guys have convinced me that I should wait for the Vistafied UMPCs before taking the plunge.

The Samsung Q2 looks intriguing… :)

James Kendrick

THanks for all the good comments and yes, I will get a flood lamp for future videos.

Jeff, the zoom does in fact work on dialog boxes.

Re: the slot on the lid. According to Vulcan it is for future planned expansion devices. A high res camera is in the works along with other things.


I agree the ultraportable is coming of age this year. Intel are expected to launch other UMPCs this year too, and CEBIT hasn’t started yet – there could be more annoucements there.

Gordon Cahill

Thanks for the look at this truely intersting sevice. With out a touch screen though I’m keeping my UX.

With the many new UMPC’s and micro PC’s now arriving it finally looks as if the true ultraportable is coming of age.

What I would really like to see is a comparison between the flipstart. OQO2 and the Sony UX390. I don’t even want a winner neccesarily, but I would love to see them side by side and a discussion of their various strengths and weaknesses.


Ron P.

@Mike Cane
Mike, I couldnt really see that slide open space when James opened it but if it was a SIM card slot it would men it is Dual Mode becuase EVDO is a CDMA data protocol and Sprint / Verizon does not use a SIM card. Having Dual Mode (GSM / CDMA ) would be absolutely cool but I could see it being a very expensive configuration. Masybe it allows one to order with GSM 3 G (Hopefully not EDGE Only) or with EVDO.

Anway I thought I would throw this disortation in as it will probably end up being that it has nothing to do with a SIM card at all LOL.

BTW, I was also going to comment on the Lighting Issue but I knew that actually it is a “happy medium” issue. From the Cameras direction it will be directly in James face which could be not only uncomfortable for him, but then he will require a Make Up person to keep his nose powdered so we dont get the glare. Then next we have a a guy doing lighting, sound man and it just gets outta control. Then the wife vetoes James idea for a production studio in the rec room amd divorce follows. All becuase of bad lighting!!!


Nice to see a video of FlipStart, even if you couldn’t really see FlipStart…. ;-)

But from I could see of design form, it looks a lot like the ’98 IBM PC110 that I used to have…

Chunky’s back in style!!


Just a shame that it doesn’t have touchscreen and tabletPC swivel screen…

Also, no lappy today should come with less than 1GB RAM and a 60GB HD minimum…..

Oh well….

tom yencha

When you make a video, would you please have the lighting in front of you and behind the camera. The video came out very dark because of the lights directly behind you and in front of the camera.
thanks, Tom

Mike Cane

I’m glad I was at home when I hit your site today. Got to see the vid. Thanks for making it a YouTube vid and not something that needed downloading!

That slot in the back, wouldn’t that be for a SIM card maybe? How else to get EVDO? Doesn’t EVDO require a cell carrier subscription?

Damn, and Samsung just let loose with the Q2 (see Engadget). What with the Flipstart (applause to them for STFUing and just DOING IT!), the OQO Mod2, and now the Q2, this is a hell of a lot of upgrade choices — and they all seem to be A-quality too! I don’t see any “Oh, I wish it had…” in these!

dr z

Thanks James. I know everyone’s eager and anxious to learn as much as possible about the Flipstart, and we’re all looking forward to your informative videos.

John in Norway

Never mind the Flipstart where’s the video of the new OQO 2?

James Kendrick

I will be giving a lot more details as I have more time with the device. This video was thrown together very quickly to give you the very first video look at the FlipStart. I promise no light bulbs in the background in future videos. :)

Matt, it dos indeed have both Bluetooth and WiFi, I just haven’t tested them yet. As for the EVDO, I can’t say what it has, just that you won’t be disappointed in that area.


Hey James! Haven’t watched the video yet, but from what I’ve seen, it looks a bit like the makeshift imac laptop that someone made (post somewhere on engadget – check it out, its quite good!) I sure hope $2000 is not the final price! Looks a bit chunky though…and agree with Matt – a touchscreen would have been good.

Having said that, I wouldn’t say no to one :)

Hanno Zulla

I don’t understand that they added an analog vga out to the port replicator. Should have been DVI, since analog vga ports always (always!) have bad video quality.


I think it looks cool. Reminds of a gameboy. Or a beefy old school Sharp clam shell PDA.
Too expensive for me but I wouldn’t mind having one.
It would be perfect for field workers who can easily check email from anywhere.
That device has some great potential to show the wide variety of uses for something that small with EVDO.


I had a big smile on my face for 20 minutes.

Thanks for sharing.

Matthew Miller

No WiFi or Bluetooth? At US$2,000 I would think that was a given for a device coming to market at this point in the game.

Is it EV-DO Rev. A? Is it with Sprint or Verizon? Or can you even say?

Too bad it doesn’t have a touch screen. While it is usually nice to see devices come out of vaporware status, I’ll be passing this one by for sure. There are a couple cool new features, but not it doesn’t make it worth the hefty price tag for me.

Thanks for the first look video James!

dr z

I’d also suggest moving the lamp thats behind your desk to in front of you (behind the camera), not behind you (in front of the camera). It’ll help with the illumination so we can see the Flipstart better.

dr z

Can you run some standardized benchmarks so we can see how performance compares with other machines like the 01+ and the Sony UX? Just run of the mill stuff like Sisoft Sandra, 3DMark, PCMark, WinStone, and WinBench should do. Thanks.

James Kendrick

Ron P, the word on the street is $2,000 but I don’t have that from Vulcan.

arebelspy- yep, system info in the device manager says 500 MB but it’s probably really 512.

Ron P.

Nice job James. I like it when a guy can just start the Video and wing right through it for a full 20 minutes! Nice Work. I certainly can see the units advanatges and of course, disadvantages. I am really surprised that they put the “Nose CAM” where they did. It never ceases to amaze when a device that had to have some serious thought put into it, took at least two years to release, and then they build in a nose hair e=xaminer LOL.
Now, Would I want one? (The FlipStart not a Nose Hair Exaoiner LOL) Absolutely. I think it will be very interesting to see what you have to say after a few days. Also Nice to see JKONTHERUN get one so early. Says alot about your presence on the web. Now we need to see the BIG QUESTION. What $$$ will this hit the street at ?.
Take Care,
Ron P

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