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Network World - The scoop: FlipStart, by FlipStart Labs, about $2,000.
What it is: The FlipStart ultramobile PC is a two-pound device that offers a full version of Windows XP (or Vista Business). Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile broadband (carrier optional) allow for network connectivity; adding a docking adapter provides for Ethernet connectivity.
The clamshell device opens to reveal a display screen (1,024-by-600-pixel resolution) and a keypad. It runs on an Intel Ultra Low Voltage processor and has a 30GB hard drive for file storage. More details on the history of the FlipStart are available.
Why it's cool: Workers complaining about carrying around a larger notebook and a wireless e-mail device, such as a BlackBerry, can carry around the tiny FlipStart without the extra bulk. While the FlipStart's size probably would prevent you from putting it in a shirt pocket, it's small enough for a coat pocket. Full Windows XP application support means that the IT group doesn't have to "mobilize" critical applications for a different operating system.
Some caveats: The integrated wireless LAN antenna seemed to have less receiving power than a normal notebook. For example, in the same location where I had a very strong WLAN signal, I got a "low" reading from the FlipStart. Navigation with thumbs takes practice - moving the mouse via the nub was slower than I wanted it to be. After a while I just connected a USB mini-mouse. In addition, the docking adapter was a little loose when connected, making it more susceptible to breaking with heavy use.
Bottom line: This would have been outstanding if it had come onto the scene in 2004 or 2005; increased competition in the ultramobile PC space gives enterprises other options that may fit their needs better.
Grade: Four stars (out of five)