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‘Handtop’ PCs Set to Hit Mobile Market

The new class of personal computing device is nothing short of an attempt to pack in the hardware and software capabilities of a PC into a small rectangular box that can be slipped into a pocket, albeit a rather generous-sized one.

“Consumers will no longer have to compromise,” said Jory Bell, chief executive of OQO, a San Francisco-based company that is aiming to launch its mini-computers this fall.

“Now you can get the full capabilities that you would get with a desktop or a laptop computer in a portable form factor,” said Bell, who previously worked at Apple Computer Inc.  on its Titanium Powerbook laptop line.

Handtop PC makers say their devices have several advantages over PDAs, which typically run more simplified software with fewer application programs. Unlike PDAs, they are meant to be used as a full-fledged PC, rather than as an extension of one that needs to be synchronized.

In addition to OQO, two other PC developers are betting that strong consumer demand for powerful handheld computing devices will fuel a new mobile computing market segment.

Seattle-based FlipStart, owned and operated by Vulcan Inc., the investment arm of Microsoft Corp.  co-founder Paul Allen, is also aiming to launch its own handtop PC later this year.

Consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) has already started selling a handtop PC, although only in its home country of Japan.

Read more at Reuters