Orlando (FL) - Compact palm-sized computers have often garnered headlines, but leave a great deal to be desired in the actual usability department. Flipstart is trying to change that with its compact, but very capable computer which we got a glimpse of at the CTIA Wireless convention in Orlando Florida. The sub 2-pound machine has a 5.6" screen and slew of wireless features and an additional ARM processor for lightweight operations.
An Intel Pentium-M running at 1.10 GHz powers the machine and company officials say the Flipstart should last around 3 to 5 hours on the high-capacity battery. 512 MB of RAM is included, but some of it is used by the Intel integrated graphics chip. Company reps surfed web pages and even played YouTube videos through the Flipstart’s 802.11 b/g wireless. For users who are out and about, the Flipstart also has EVDO rev A. connectivity.
The keyboard is ergonomically designed and isn’t just a shrunk-down version of a desktop keyboard – like what you see in other compact computers that we won’t mention here. Pressing Control-Alt-Delete on a desktop keyboard is easy, but don’t even think about it on a tiny keyboard. Thankfully Flipstart makes that easy with a single key in the top center of the keyboard. There is also a key in the bottom right corner that gets you to your desktop.
The top of the keyboard has left and right mouse buttons, directional cursor arrows, trackpad and a pointer button. Basically the Flipstart is designed for two-handed operation with your right thumb controlling the “mouse” movement and the left thumb hitting the right and left-click buttons.
The Flipstart is probably the one ultra-compact computer that could seriously sell like hotcakes. Although we only played around the computer for a few minutes, we couldn’t help wondering that this was thoughtfully designed with ergonomics and usability in mind. It doesn't surprise us that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is funding this start-up.
Flipstart will sell in April for $2000 and you get the computer, high-capacity battery, port replicator and carrying bag in the package.