Status of OQO's latest handheld PC questioned

Spokeswoman denies production has stopped for the OQO Model +2

OQO Inc. has told a distributor that the OQO Model 2+ will not be released and that customer preorders will be canceled, according to a Web site that follows the ultramobile PC market.

OQO announced the new device at the International CES in January, saying it was expected to ship by midyear for $999. Intel Corp. Chairman Craig Barrett featured the product, which OQO calls a mobile Internet device, in his keynote at CES.

According to UMPCPortal.com, the OQO distributor called BuildYourUMPC.com, sent out a note yesterday saying, "We have been informed that the 2+ will not be released and all pre-orders currently on file will be cancelled. We also will not be receiving any new OQO inventory. Any remaining inventory has been discounted and posted in our Open Box/Clearance section on our website."

A spokesman for BuildYourUMPC.com said by e-mail that he could not confirm any information related to the note, while a spokeswoman for OQO said "that is not the case" when asked if production had been stopped and preorders had been canceled. She did not respond to a request for further information on the status of the 2+, however.

The OQO spokeswoman also did not respond to a query on reports that OQO is seeking a buyer.

One analyst said it was not surprising that OQO in general and its current 2+ might not be doing well. "I don't know who would be buying that product, because it's high-priced and serves only a small niche," said analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates.

"It's not a general-purpose device, and is somewhere between a standard notebook and a fully ruggedized handheld device," Gold said. "So it seems like OQO is searching for a market, which is not easy, especially in a recession. I'm not surprised at the report."

OQO, based in San Francisco, has generated attention for its products, and prices have dropped, especially from early 2008, when the Model 02 equipped for WiMax was introduced at CES starting at $1,299. The original Model 02 was introduced a year earlier.

The 2+ announced in January is similar in size and shape to the earlier versions, and weighs less than a pound. It is 5.6 in. by 3.3 in. by 1.0 in. in size, with a touch-screen on a 5-in. display and a QWERTY keyboard. It runs the 1.86-GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor and offers a fully functional Windows Vista PC operating system. It also has the Qualcomm Gobi module for support of multiple wireless standards.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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