OQO Finally Gets it Right With the model 02+ MID

Some might argue that OQO practically invented the Mobile Internet Device (MID) category when it first announced its OQO platform back in 2002. Of course it was still just a proof-of-concept then, and a real product didn't emerge until a few years later in 2004. Perhaps because the initial OQO model 01 and subsequent model 01+ were powered by fairly anemic Transmeta Crusoe processors and only had 256MB and 512MB of memory, respectively, they met with only moderate success. The OQO model 02 and model e2 got somewhat warmer receptions, but they still felt underpowered with their 1.6GHz Via C7M ULV processors and 1GB of RAM. But now OQO is announcing the new OQO model 2+, powered by an Intel Atom processor, and OQO might finally have a winner on its hands with its latest design.

There are actually two versions of the OQO model 2+; the specs for the two models are:

  • 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520 processor
  • Windows XP Home
  • 60GB HDD
  • 1GB DDR2 533MHz SDRAM
  • Intel GMA500 graphics
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • Bluetooth
  • 5-inch 800x480 LCD with touchscreen
  • 4,500mAh lithium-ion polymer battery
  • $999
  • 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor
  • Windows Vista Business or XP Professional
  • 120GB HDD (60GB SSD option)
  • 2GB DDR2 533MHz SDRAM
  • Intel GMA500 graphics
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • Bluetooth
  • 5-inch 800x480 OLED with touchscreen
  • 4,500mAh lithium-ion polymer battery
  • $1,499

The specs for the 1.86GHz-based model 02+ actually seem robust enough to consider the device a fully-functional, mobile computer and not just a glorified communications device; although, for optimum performance, we would probably choose Windows XP over Vista. Both versions of the model 02+ weigh only one pound and they measure 3.3x5.6x1.0-inches (HWD). The 1.86GHz model 02+ also includes an OLED-based display, which OQO claims has a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. OLED doesn't require a backlight, so using this display technology should contribute towards better battery life. OQO claims that both units should get about 3.5 hours of battery life with the standard 4,500mAh battery, or 7 hours with the optional ("double capacity") 9,000mAh battery. The displays on both units have touchscreen capabilities, and the displays also slide up to reveal a backlit, "58-key thumb keyboard."

Both version of the model 02+ also come with an integrated Qualcomm Gobi 3G mobile broadband (EV-DO Rev. A and HSPA) module and a "proprietary penta-band antenna." It can work domestically on both Verizon Wireless and Sprint networks, as well as internationally as "an open-SIM device on GRPS/EDGE, UMTS, and HSPA," with potential downstream speeds of up 7.2Mbps and potential upstream speeds of up to 2.0Mbps.

The model 02+ can output up to a 1,920x1,200 video resolution to external displays via its HDMI port. The model 02+ will also work all existing model 02 and model e2 accessories, such as the OQO docking station and existing GPS solutions.

Early reports are coming in from the CES show flow from folks who have had a chance to spend some hands-on time with 1.86GHz version of the OQO model 02+. These reports all seem favorable and most folks seem genuinely impressed with the model 02+'s design and performance. As always, second-hand information--as well as fleeting first impressions--are never enough to truly judge a product's merits; which is why we hope to get a unit in our hands when the model 02+ ships in May 2009, so we can put it though the HotHardware paces and give you our own impressions.