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Via unleashes ultraportable PC

Via NanoBook to take on UMPCs

Via has developed a reference ultraportable notebook. The Via NanoBook, which will be unveiled tomorrow at the Computex exhibition, uses Via's 1.2GHz C-7M processor and has a 7in LCD (liquid crystal display) touchscreen and Wi-Fi. The Via NanoBook design will hit European markets soon.

The Via NanoBook small notebook PC is will ship with either a 30GB or 60GB hard disk. The Via NanoBook will run either Windows XP or Windows Vista.

The Via NanoBook weighs less than 900g and has a battery life of up to five hours.

The NanoBook is aimed at the same market as the UMPC (Ultramobile PC) reference design developed by Microsoft and Intel, but has different specifications. For instance, the UMPC is designed around an Intel microprocessor and doesn't include a full keyboard.

Via, which trails far behind Intel and AMD in the microprocessor market, is counting on reference designs such as the NanoBook to win more business from hardware vendors, said Richard Brown [CQ], the company's vice president of corporate marketing.

The strategy appears to be working. On Sunday, Taiwanese contract manufacturer FIC leaked details of a NanoBook produced by the company. That device is being made under contract for Packard Bell BV, which will put the device on sale in Europe during the third quarter, according to a source familiar with the deal.

A similar device will be made for sale in the US but will not be sold under the Packard Bell brand, the source said.

Via's NanoBook reference design includes at least one feature that will not appear in the device sold by Packard Bell. Because the screen is smaller than the notebook's lid, there is space for a removable module that sits next to the display. Via has developed three modules that can be changed by users to suit their needs.

These modules include a world clock, a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver, a VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) phone, a DVB television receiver and a 3G (third-generation) cellular module.

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