OQO have confirmed that the UMPC spotted yesterday during the IDF conference is, indeed, a version of the company’s ultraportable touchscreen computer running an Intel Atom CPU. However, CEO Dennis Moore has publicly stated that the device is “a technology showcase, not an impending product announcement”, prompted by Intel choosing OQO as a good example of a company catering to mobile professionals.
“Note that this is not a product launch or announcement, but is a demonstration of what we think an Intel Atom processor should do in a product targeting users who need the ultimate in mobile productivity, and demonstrates all the areas where OQO has led the market for years — performance, battery life, thermals, usability, design, and form factor. While there are other small and light devices using Intel’s Atom processor, none of them comes close to the performance and productivity we are showing with this technology demonstration” Dennis Moore, CEO, OQO
The denial that the OQO 03 will run Intel’s Atom CPU has been met with mixed reactions. An obvious assumption is that OQO do plan to transition to the popular Atom CPU, and have thus invested (probably significantly) in developing this prototype, but are not ready for an official announcement. Alternatively, Moore’s comments could be taken at face value, and the prototype seen as a just that.
More likely, maybe, the key is in Moore’s phrasing: “not an impending product announcement” [emphasis mine]. With Intel rumored to be phasing out the single-core Atom at some point in Q2 2009, it would make more sense for any future Intel-based OQO UMPC to use the upcoming dual-core Atom 330. However that chip is not ready for primetime, and an announcement about devices using it would be premature and likely impact on OQO 02 sales as would-be customers hold off for the next version.