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Innovation

FlipStart handheld PC unveiled at last

This has been a long time coming. I first heard rumors and saw spyshots of the FlipStart handheld PC a couple of years ago and, after a number of delays, the device has finally been announced officially.
Written by Marc Orchant, Contributor on
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This has been a long time coming. I first heard rumors and saw spyshots of the FlipStart handheld PC a couple of years ago and, after a number of delays, the device has finally been announced officially. Since its first mention, the world has turned a few times and a number of other devices that compete, both on specs and price, have been launched.

FlipStart enters a field already occupied by OQO, whose Model 02 device should be shipping around the same time as the FlipStart, and Sony, whose UX line of handheld PCs running Windows are also in their second generation. Of course, there are also a variety of UMPC devices now available as well although the direct comparison will be with the OQO and Sony devices based on form factor and price. The FlipStart is a larger device than either of these competitors though and has a compelling feature set.

I know the device is for real because my podcasting partner and fellow Tablet PC MVP James Kendrick already has his hands on an evaluation unit. James and I spoke on a Skype video call yesterday as soon as he got the device set up and he's posted his first impressions and a 20-minute YouTube video of the new handheld PC on his jkOnTheRun blog. 

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The cover of the FlipStart features a secondary display that can display  Outlook e-mail, events, and tasks and data from other programs. I saw a number of standard notebooks featuring this secondary display at CES in January and think that this feature will be a real boon to busy people on the go - especially in this form factor.

As James was describing the device to me yesterday, he noted that the trackpad and pointing stick both worked well and that the thumboard was nicely laid out with a decent amount of space around the keys to make text entry comfortable and reasonably error-free. He seemed very impressed with the 1024 x 600 display on the 5.6" screen which should be an ideal combination based on my recent experiences with the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet which displays at 800 x 480 pixel width on a smaller 4" screen.

With WiFI, EV-DO, and Bluetooth, a built-in camera and microphones, this should be a great mobile communicator.

The technical specs:

  • 1.1 GHz Intel® Pentium® M processor
  • Windows® XP Professional or Windows Vista
  • 512-MB DDR RAM
  • 30-GB hard drive
  • Extended life Lithium Polymer battery
  • Port replicator
  • 1 full-power USB 2.0 port
  • 1024 x 600 Wide SVGA 5.6” display
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • QWERTY thumb keyboard
  • Dual built-in microphones
  • Internal VGA camera
  • Bluetooth
  • Availability: Late March 2007
  • Price: $1995.00 US

 UPDATE: Engadget has a thorough hands-on review as well.

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