Just how small can an IBM-compatible computer be? Small enough to fit into a coat pocket, says Poqet Computer Corp. Its new one-pound portable will run standard IBM PC software and has a small but complete keyboard and display. The company says the price will be about $2,000 when it goes on sale later this year.

The Poqet PC is the first product of a young computer maker with deep roots in the electronics industry. Both president Stav Prodromou and vice-president of engineering John Fairbanks are veterans of Texas Instruments and Mattel. Prodromou later went to Fairchild Semiconductor as executive vice-president. The third founder is Robb Wilmot, former chairman of ICL, the largest British computer company.

As impressive as its founders' résumés is the speed with which two-year-old Poqet has introduced its product. Prodromou credits that to the start-up's alliance with "an industrial partner, a major worldwide electronics company" -- probably Fujitsu Ltd., although he won't say for sure. What he will say is that he considers such partnerships superior to traditional venture capital. "A VC can provide you with money and management oversight. An industrial partner can give you manufacturing capacity and know-how." -- Cary Lu