UMPC

OQO to be acquired by AudioTone in China?

Oqo_audiotoneIt was only a few months ago that we bid farewell to a financially troubled OQO, makers of what were often billed as the world's smallest PCs, and already it looks like the company is being pulled back onto its feet. Though OQO may not simply pick up where it left off, recent news out of China indicates that AudioTone (OQO's partner and distributor in China since 2007) may be in the final stages of acquiring it.

The earliest reference to the pending purchase, dated July 24th, comes from Hexun.com and implies that the acquisition by AudioTone will most likely go through. In an article published today at digi.163.com, however, the author cites "reliable sources" and claims the acquisition has already been finalized.

Google Translate mangles a lot of the original Chinese text, including AudioTone's name (which becomes "Beijing Olympic Century Technology Co., Ltd." and is sometimes machine-translated as "Century Austrian" and "Austrian OQO"), but I ran the news through one of my guest contributors who is fluent in Chinese (Mandarin, I think) and obviously doesn't need Google to read it.

According to his understanding of the articles, OQO's R&D and design centers will remain in the United States for the time being, but the wheels are in motion for AudioTone to eventually take the leap from just being a distributor to actually having control over the design and capability of future products. This will allow them to better target the Chinese market (AudioTone began selling OQO units, presumably the Model 02, on the ground floor of a mall in Beijing last year, so they already have somewhat of a retail presence there) and could mean that the "new OQO" may have a significantly reduced presence in the US.

Whether any of this is true or will change the fate of the Model 2+ remains to be seen.

Huge thanks to Steven for the coherent translation!

UPDATE: OQOTalk moderator Picasso emailed me with the following comment: "AudioTone was a serious potential buyer for a while (alongside Motorola) [but . . . ] at the end of the day, they not only flaked on the acquisition but owed OQO substantial money for computers they had purchased."

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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8 thoughts on “OQO to be acquired by AudioTone in China?

  • Well, this interests me. The Model 2+ had greatly sparked my interest till the company fell.

    Reply
  • In spite of Picasso’s comments — how much authority does a forum moderator have? — I hope this is true. I don’t really care if it’s AudioTone that is involved. I just want someone to buy OQO and start making the 2+ models so I can replace my dying 02.

    Reply
  • This site does not work with Safari to post comments (the post button does not work).

    Hopefully someone resurrects the OQO model 2+. After all, since the prototype has been built (main board, screen, drivers, etc), it is just a matter of selling it and making millions!

    Reply
  • Avatar of StarTAC Fan

    Hopefully OQO will be resurrected…no doubt this is the sentiment of many. But I fear though the new owner, if that comes to be, will cut too many corners which will bring down product quality. Under OQO’s former administration, as poorly managed as the company was, at least engineering and manufacturing standards were high.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Anonymous

    Perhaps if you chose a better web browser, you wouldn’t have such a terrible browsing experience ;)

    Reply
  • “This site does not work with Safari to post comments (the post button does not work).”

    Which OS and browser version are you using?

    I just confirmed that everything works with Leopard (10.5.7) and Safari 4.0.2. The comments system is javascript-based and still in beta, so sometimes a refresh is needed to make everything show up and work correctly.

    Reply
  • Avatar of MathProfJohnson

    @Deck- Picasso knows someone at OQO… so I would take his word over anyone else’s.

    Reply

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