OQO was when it said its final goodbye back in May 2009, and even today its website still declares the company "out of business." Well, that's not exactly the case anymore -- a little research led us to CCW, which reports that Audiotone -- OQO's business partner in China -- confirmed a successful merger with the UMPC manufacturer in April this year (on the condition that the latter's R&D to remain in the US). This would explain why OQO's Chinese site was still being updated with news after the "closure," while its Western counterpart remained frozen in time.
The juicier news, however, is that OQO's launching a Model 03 for Chinese buyers in Q3 2010 (and the website's banner specifically says August). Don't be fooled by the model number, though -- this 15-ounce device essentially shares the same chassis with the Model 02, but is now packed with Windows 7, Intel Atom Z500 series chip, SSD, 3G radio (compatible with WCDMA, EVDO and TD-SCDMA), and a 4.8-inch 1024 x 600 multitouch LCD (previously 5-inch 800 x 480 single-touch). You'll also get the same old Bluetooth, WiFi, built-in mic and HDMI across the four flavors: Gold, Diamond, Elite and Business, which range from 1.2GHz to 2GHz, 32GB to 128GB (1GB to 2GB of RAM), and ¥12,999 ($1,919) to a whopping ¥31,888 ($4,708). Well, these are still far from what most of us would consider as affordable, so here's hoping the Chinese market will keep OQO alive until it can bring us some cheaper alternatives. Or at least avoid sending the company to its second funeral.
Update: Eerily, the long static OQO home page has been updated with a brief, but telling bit of text at the bottom of the page: "We did not sell out to Audiotone. Anything by them is a Clone."
Update 2: Looks like the previous OQO home page update is a hack... by zombies!