Modular Computer Hitting The Market

from the tiny...-but-will-people-buy? dept

The area of “tiny” full function computers seems to get a lot of hype. They are cool – but they’ve mostly remained in the prototype stage. One of the companies that had the most hype was OQO, who announced a tiny fully functional computing core that they planned to sell for $1,000. That device still hasn’t come out. The thing that I thought was especially cool about the OQO wasn’t the size, so much as the idea that it was just a “core” that could then be placed in docking stations or shells to turn it into whatever you wanted. Need a desktop? Put the core in a docking station. Need a laptop? Here’s a shell to slide the core into. Want a PDA? Just use the core as is with its touchscreen. Now, I’m sure we’ll see the same sort of hype since another company, Antelope Technologies, is launching their “Modular Computing Core”, which is based on IBM technology that was created well before the OQO came along, but which IBM never developed. The price, though, is nowhere near the OQO’s promised $1,000. They want $4,000 for the device, and are (obviously) targeting the corporate market. I’ve had a chance to play around with the Tiqit device a few times, which is another tiny computer in the space, and I could see how they could be useful. I’ve heard plenty of people say that the $1,000 pricepoint OQO promised is not realistic, and that explains why the first actual device is four times that. Interestingly, the Tiqit folks also don’t think the “core” concept is that big of a deal, suggesting that most people don’t need such modular computers and wouldn’t use them very much – preferring to just use the device as is, or in a docking station. It certainly is an interesting space, but it remains to be seen if it can get past the “oooh, that’s cool” factor and find a real market.

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