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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 16, 2006 at 5:40 AM

OQO boss Jory Bell on Microsoft’s Origami device

SAN DIEGO — I was expecting Jory Bell, a reknown PC designer and co-founder of micro PC maker OQO, to rip on Microsoft’s Origami Ultra-Mobile PC project but he seemed more curious than critical.

Bell wondered why Microsoft released the device so early — the first model went on sale this month — and whether the first iteration is intended to woo PC makers more than consumers. We also chatted about whether Microsoft was trying to get ahead of competition such as the Nokia Internet tablet; perhaps the Redmondians caught wind of Google’s interest in working with Nokia on the second generation tablet.

One challenge for Microsoft and its UMPC partners is that Intel is still working on a smaller, more power-efficient processor for such devices. Bell’s also interested in that processor and recently visited Intel’s facility in Haifa, Israel, to learn more about it.

Before launching OQO in 2000, Bell worked on Apple Computer’s G3 line and co-developed the Titanium Powerbook, and before that he worked on IBM’s ThinkPad.

OQO makes handheld PCs that run full versions of Windows, but are only slightly bigger than a cigarette package. A similar device called the FlipStart was developed but never sold by Paul Allen, who was standing near Bell as we talked in the lobby of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology.

Comments | More in | Topics: Gadgets & products

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