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Via goes pocket size, super portable

Posted: 11 Jun 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ultramobile PCs? mini laptops? Via NanoBook? Via motherboards?

Via Technologies Inc. targets ultramobile market with the technical blueprint rollout of its super-small PCB and NanoBook mini laptop. The motherboard, dubbed Mobile-ITX, measures 63-by-45mm. "The motherboard is smaller than my name card," Via chief executive officer Chen Wen-chi remarked at Computex Taiwan 2007 last week. "Our nickname for it is the business card ITX."

Based on a low-power 1.2GHz VIA C7-M processor that comes in a 9-by-11mm package, Via expects Mobile-ITX to enable substantial improvements to future super portable devices. "It gives us a lot more room for innovation. Or system guys, for instance, can add in larger batteries, something that they weren't able to do with the earlier platforms because of space constraints," said CJ Holthaus, a CPU engineer at Via.

The fabless chipmaker also unveiled a reference design for ultramobile PCs that will enter the market later this year. Called the NanoBook, it is part of what the company calls PC 2.0, a movement toward ultramobility that will eventually see the Internet act as the main storage and processing element for computing devices.

The NanoBook weighs less than 850g. Aside from the C7-M processor, it includes Via's VX700 chipset featuring the Via UniChrome Pro II IGP integrated graphics core. The company promised between 4-5 hours of battery life.

The NanoBook runs on either Windows XP or Vista Basic. Features include a full keyboard, 7-inch WVGA screen with touch panel, up to 1GByte DDR2 SDRAM and a 30-60GByte hard drive. Ports include Ethernet, a digital video interface and two USB 2.0 slots. The wireless suite consists of built-in 802.11g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but users can add in GPS and 3G/CDMA wireless broadband modules via the USB slot.

Pricing is expected to fall under $600, a point Via believes will drive it into the mainstream consumer market.

- Mike Clendenin
EE Times

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