On the FlipStart website, it shows a man looking at the FlipStart saying: "who shrank your laptop". An appropriate question, considering that the FlipStart looks like a regular laptop hit by Rick Moranis' shrinking device from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
The best description of the FlipStart would be an Ultra-Mobile Personal Computer, or UMPC. Even though most UMPCs are small enough to fit in your pocket, the FlipStart is about the size of a soda can. What the FlipStart does not have in size it makes up with in memory. Most UMPCs have very limited memory, but the FlipStart has 30 GB Hard Drive and 512 MB worth of RAM.
So it really is more laptop than UMPC, and can operate on non-mobile versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista. The display is about 5.6 inches, and has a 1024 x 600 SVGA resolution. When the FlipStart is closed, it has an InfoPane, which is a 1.8 inch external display screen that gives low-power access to Microsoft Outlook, e-mail, contacts, and calendar.
Not only does the FlipStart have a backlit QWERTY keyboard, but it has mouse buttons, touchpad, touchstick, and a jog dial! Interfacing is also even more of a breeze as it comes with function keys like Ctrl-Alt-Del, the FlipStart Navigator (for menu options), and the Zoom key for close-ups.
Of course, the FlipStart wouldn't be anything if it didn't have WiFi connectivity, and the FlipStart is Sprint Mobile Broadband ready with 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth. The FlipStart has a lithium polymer battery which is capable of 3-6 hours worth of usage.
The FlipStart is also designed for multimedia action with 3.5 mm stereo headphones, dual built-in microphones, and a built-in speaker. It also has an internal VGA camera, but I don't have much information on that. To be honest, I'm surprised they actually crammed in a camera on this thing when it already comes with a 1.1 GHz Intel Pentium M Processor and Intel Enhanced Graphics processor.
The FlipStart is a creation of FlipStart Labs, a technology incubator founded by none other than Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen. Dynamism.com just became FlipStart Labs first Resale Partner, and you should be able to purchase the FlipStart at their website at http://www.dynamism.com/ for about $1999.
Considering the UMPC market is not as big as say, the cell phone market, but this FlipStart, with its advanced features could change the market.
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