Who says all netbooks are alike? OK, I may have been guilty of saying something like that on a few occasions. After all, practically every netbook released in the last few months has a 1024 x 600 pixel display, an Intel Atom CPU, and similar storage and memory options. Sure, every now and again someone like Gigabyte comes along with a tablet-style touchscreen device, or some companies decide to install Windows CE instead of Windows XP or Linux. But for the most part, until we start to see dual-core machines, or netbooks running the VIA Nano CPU, most netbooks are a lot alike.

And then along comes OLO, a company that wants to build a netbook around your iPhone. While this isn’t the first clamshell device based on a cellphone or PDA platform we’ve seen, the OLO computer is a bit different from the ill-fated Palm Foleo or the CELIO Redfly for Windows Mobile. That’s because the OLO computer doesn’t just connect to an iPhone via a wired or wireless connection. You actually insert the iPhone into the notebook itself and use the iPhone’s touchscreen as a trackpad for the computer.

It’s not clear at the moment what kind of software OLO will be adding to the table. The iPhone does technically run a stripped down version of OS X, so perhaps the image above which shows an OLO computer running what looks like a full desktop version of OS X is plausible. But then again, there’s a good chance it’s just a mockup and all the OLO will really let you do is use Safari Mobile and other iPhone apps on a larger screen with a real keyboard.

There’s no release date, price, or real specs available at the moment. And with rumors flying that Apple is preparing to launch a sub-$800 notebook of its own, the OLO concept may be DOA. But it’s certainly one of the most interesting netbook concepts I’ve seen in a while. And since it would be built around the iPhone with its always-available internet connection, this truly would be a netbook.

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62 replies on “OLO Computer would turn an iPhone into a netbook”

  1. Don’t be a dumb ass dumb ass, this is a great idea and something needs to be done about it. When this is going to happen is the most important question!

  2. I was attracted by the outlook of this OLO computer at first sign. Then after a second thought I was wondering if I would ever carry my iphone and a netbook at the same time. I have not brought a netbook yet as my iphone has done most of the things a netbook will do for me.

  3. Might I Suggest the Raon Digital Everun note : Smaller than most “netbooks” with a dual core processor.
    Also about twice the cost, which seems reasonable for 4x the performance. (in 3d apps, for example).
    Low battery life, but power isn’t that difficult to come by, and it would certainly be easy to add an extended 5v battery pack. The size constraints of the device are acceptable – it fits into most larger pockets, and therefore doesn’t require a bag to carry it in.

    – A most pleased customer.

  4. We all know Apple is secretly developing a iBook so what’s the big news about this?

  5. this is a great idea, but should you be required to have an iPhone as well? or is it only an option?

  6. If it could be implemented in the right way, it does have potential. The touch screen on the Iphone would makes a good track pad for the system and could open up other multi-touch control features. Rather then use the Iphone’s CPU and operation system I think they would be better off giving the laptop netbook specs and using the iphone to doc as a 3g model/wifi moduels, and perhaps extra storage option. You could argue, why not just buy a netbook then? Well with out adding a 3g module, wifi, bluetooth, touch pad, gps, and much storage, the net book it’s self could be priced well below any of the current netbooks out…plus it could run full OSX..or gasp…XP. It would really only need a small SSD of 4-8gb for the OS and a few files, since most of your media files will already be on the iphone’s/ipod touch SSD.

  7. I had this exact idea last year right before the air came out. It’s a pretty good idea I think, if apple did it.

  8. Wow, that’s pretty retarded. Not do the SDK restrictions that apple has put in place make programming such a device practically impossible, but who would want it? It would have to be priced extremely cheap for me to have to loose my phone every time I want to use the computer. Not to mention it won’t be compatible with any desktop software.

    This is just as dumb as those “turn your iPod into a PMP” devices. PMP sized, PMP priced, limited as hell in actual use.

Comments are closed.