Ultra mobile PC (UMPC) maker OQO launched what it claims to be the world's smallest UMPC in London yesterday.

The OQO model e2 fits comfortably in your hand and provides a serious alternative to a bigger laptop. Based on Windows Vista Ultimate, the e2 is essentially a mini notebook, with the applications, functions, look and feel of a standard-sized portable. It's responsive and loads applications quickly.

The full Qwerty keyboard slides out from underneath the screen with 58 raised keys - including 18 dedicated application keys for functions such as Wi-Fi, volume and the dashboard. You hold the device in both hands, typing away with your thumbs. The ubiquitous OQO trackstick is there, as is separate left and right mouse buttons for quicker operation.

Remember - this is a full-blown Vista PC. There's no compressed web browsing here, as you would get on a smaller sized PDA or smartphone. Besides its integrated Wi-Fi, the OQO model e2 also features 3G and Bluetooth connectivity.

Global expansion

The OQO model e2 has been on sale in the US for a while, but OQO is now bringing the device to Europe as part of its global expansion.

"We're really excited about this product," said Martin Day, director of international channels. "UMPCs have received a lot of flak over the years, being described as a 'failed project'. But the OQO model e2 is a great example of true convergence between a notebook computer and mobile telephony - with functions ranging from web access to word processing."

The OQO model e2 is on sale from eXpansys now, starting at £1,149. We're expecting a review sample within a week or so; we'll give you the full low-down as soon as we get it.

Key specifications:

  • Up to 1.6GHz VIA C7-M CPU
  • Up to 120GB hard disk drive
  • 32GB solid state drive available
  • Up to 1GB DDR2 SDRAM
  • Integrated Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • Ergonomic illuminated thumb UK keyboard
  • Ultra-bright 5-inch 800x480 WVGA LCD display with zooming up to 1200x720
  • VGA/HDMI/DVI support
  • Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Professional, or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005
  • 142 x 84 x 42mm (w x h x d)
  • 454g
  • Up to 6 hours' battery life, 3 days of standby time