UMPCs dying a slow, twitching death

Rumours of UMPC maker OQO's demise may not be greatly exaggerated.
Back before the netbook was even a gleam in the eyes of an Asus engineer we had several UMPCs on the market that offered Lilliputian dimensions, small screens, and low performance. Nowadays, of course, all of the features of the "UMPC" are there with less of a trade off in usability and without the high price tag, thanks to the myriad netbooks on the market today.

One of the cooler and more interesting UMPCs was from a little company called OQO. Earlier this year, OQO was showing off its newest UMPC model called the OQO Model 2+. The new model had very netbook-like specifications with an 8-inch screen and an Intel Atom CPU. The main difference between the OQO device and a netbook was the form factor with the Model 2+ looking more like a slider smartphone than a netbook.

If your geek lust was well stoked by the OQO Model 2+, let me throw a bit of water on the fire. jkOnTheRun reports that OQO is rumored to be searching for a buyer to take up the reins of the company. Apparently, OQO is in such poor financial shape that work hours at the firm have been cut. Obviously, that means that the new Model 2+ is far from certain to make an appearance.

At the same time that rumors of OQO's demise are circulating around, we also hear that international retail giant eXpansys is notifying customers who pre-ordered the Model 2+ that the machine will not be available and that pre-orders are being cancelled. It sounds like the end may be neigh for OQO. With cheap netbooks still booming in sales, does the slow death of UMPCs imply that it is it simply too expensive to produce PCs in custom form factors?

BY Shane McGlaun

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