Ocosmos made quite a splash at IDF in September when the upstart Korean company showed off a prototype of its 5-inch OCS1 gaming notebook, a form factor the company calls a “tiny PC.” Now at CES, Ocosmos is back with a revised prototype for the OCS1, a 9-inch slate called the OCS9, and a vision of how its unique OMOS control pad, which appear on both devices, can change the face of mobile Windows computing.
Back at IDF, the version of the OCS1 we saw had a pop-out QWERTY keyboard, but Ocosmos has decided to ditch that design in all regions but Korea. The new design that’s targeted for world distribution is described in the company’s press materials as the OCS1U, but company spokespeople described it as just the new OCS1. This new chassis, pictured at the top of this post, has no slider, but simply a 5-inch, 1024 x 600 touch screen that has the dual OMOS joystick pads on either side.
During our briefing with Ocosomos, the company’s CEO spent a great deal of time outlining the problems with traditional touch input for Windows. In addition to Windows’ touch-unfriendly UI, he cited the relative inaccuracy of simply tapping the panel, the latency involved in using touch for something like a first-person shooter, and the fact that users must actually cover part of the screen with their fingers in order to interact with touch devices.
The OMOS interface consists of two D-Pad like joysticks that rotate, press in and shift in various directions. By combining the motion of the two pads, you can create a significant number of different gestures and the OMOS software actually allows you to type by simply using the right combination of presses. According to Ocosmos, the OMOS controls can make tasks such as rotating the view in Google Earth or playing a first-person shooter a lot easier than touch. The company also believes that, if you get good at OMOS use, you will even be able to zoom through the menus and functions in PowerPoint or other productivity software faster than if you were dragging a mouse.
The OCS1 has the two OMOS joysticks built into it, but other devices actually have the OMOS controls separated onto a separate object like a dock or built into a case. The company even sells a product called the O-Bar that allows you to bring the OMOS navigation to smart tvs.
In addition to its OMOS controls, the OCS1 has a special touch UI layer that makes it easier to launch applications from within windows. The screen houses a series of larger finger-friendly icons which can be dividing into different groups. It’s also easy to get back to the plain old Windows 7 desktop by hitting a button. Ocosmos spokesperson Steve Kim gave us a brief demo on a demo unit.
Though specs aren’t final and the device won’t even begin shipping until Intel finalizes its Oaktrail platform of low-powered tiny CPUs, Ocosmos shared the following detials on the system’s hardware.
Though Ocosmos hasn’t even shipped the first OCS1 yet, the company is already showing off its next-gen OCS1 design, which press materials name as OCS1E. Due in late 2011 or even 2012, the OCS1E will not have the OMOS joysticks built into its chassis. Instead, it will come with an OMOS dock that you can pop it in and out of. You will also be able to use a leather carrying case that has the OMOS controls built right into the fold so you’ll be able to flip open the case and have the joysticks sitting below the tablet.
In addition to the OCS1, Ocosmos plans to launch a 9-inch tablet called the OCS9. Like the OCS1, the OCS9 will use an Oaktrail processor, have a 64GB SSD, dual webcams, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. However, there’s no word yet on the exact screen resolution of the device.
Like the OCS1E, the OCS9 will not have built-in OMOS joysticks. Instead a separate wireless QWERTY keyboard with OMOS controls on it will come bundled with the device and will work held aloft or docked in the bi-fold leather case that comes with the OCS9.
In our demo with Ocosmos, we saw hardware that was still very much under construction. The OMOS controls weren’t enabled on the OCS1 and we didn’t even get a demo of the OCS9. However, we look forward to seeing how these products develop and we can’t wait to try using the unique OMOS joysticks to perform productivity tasks like typing. Will we really be able to type an e-mail using just a pair of d-pads? We’ll find out.