We're unsure* as to how we should take the claims of Atom Chip Corporation, which maintains it will show off a 2TB diskless notebook based on a 6.8GHz "quantum-optical" microprocessor at next January's Consumer Electronics Show.
An image of said notebook, the Atom Chip SG220-2, popped up on a number of websites this week. According to Atom Chip's own description, the machine has no hard drive, relying instead on the company's "non-volatile Quantum-Optical RAM" of which it's packed with 2TB.
This is what Atom Chip's other website, Compu-technics.com, says about the memory: "In this non-volatile integrated Quantum-Optical synchronous random accessible memory (NvIOpSRAM) the information is recorded and read by a laser beam. This memory does not have any moving mechanical parts. Complete lack of mechanical parts combined with ultra-high density, ultra-high speed and extremely compact size distinguish this memory from all existing memories."
The NviOpSRAM comes in a "three-pin" package, pictured on the site. Yes, it looks like a 3.5mm earphone jack to us, too, but then we're not quantum-optical scientists. In the notebook, the memory appears configured in a standard SO-DIMM format. The HDD replacement is based on the same technology, it appears, fitted into a pair of back-to-back CompactFlash microdrive form-factor units.
The computer also contains said "high speed with very low consumption of electrical energy" CPU, the Quantum II, which contains 256MB of on-package memory. Since Atom Chip provides a number of Windows screenshots purporting to prove its claims, we assume the Quantum II is x86 compatible and supports 64-bit addressing, though Atom Chip itself doesn't make such claims.
The CPU is mounted inside a sealed unit, but a piccy of the open package reveals nothing so much as a pair of optical drive laser lenses. Oddly, they're mounted in such a way that they would appear to shine only on the inside of the metallic package cover. Alongside the chip is a standard fan and heat-pipe, though the picture caption has the latter down as a "fibers optical cable".
Atom Chip also claims this miracle machine has "voice command". It's a wireless device, too, with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPRS. If you don't want a Quantum II on board, it will also run with four 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M processors, Atom Chip says. The downside with the Intel solution is that you only get three hours' battery life, the company claims. With a Quantum II inside, you get eight hours' operation from a single charge. Coo. It can also get Windows XP Server 2002 to display more than 64GB of RAM, apparently.
The Quantum II is the brainchild of Westbury, New York-based Shimon Gendlin, who runs Atom Chip and Compu-technics, and whose "magneto quantum-optical" discoveries are enshrined in US patent 5,841,689 filed in November 1996 and granted in November 1998.
According to the Compu-technics website, Gendlin has won numerous awards for his work in his specialism, including a "gold oskar" from Bulgaria, a World Intellectual Property Organisation "East-West Euro Intellect" gold medal, an International Salon of Industrial Property, Moscow Archimedes medal, a Japanese "World Genius Convention" plaudit and many more.
We must admit, we're a trifle sceptical, but Gendlin has his patent - and more pending, apparently - and so we look forward to seeing Atom Chip's kit in the flesh at CES. The company is scheduled to demonstrate its wares on Booth 36604. ®
* Not entirely true: we're sure how we take it - the rest is up to you.