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Picture: BenQ's new Mobile Internet Device

UMPC on show at Mobile World Congress

BenQ is showing off a new user interface on an ultramobile PC at the Mobile World Congress, and said it plans to start marketing the product in the second quarter of this year

The device is being displayed as part of BenQ's new mobile offerings. It was first shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.

BenQ has taken on the new moniker coined by Intel - mobile Internet device (MID) - for its new gadget, a name that appears to be replacing the term ultramobile PC (UMPC). UMPCs have so far not fared well in global markets, despite a much-hyped launch and backing by heavyweights such as Microsoft and Intel.

BenQ MID

BenQ's MID sports a Linux OS, but the company tweaked the user interface to work more closely with its functions. Although full details have not yet been released, the company has said the MID is equipped for wireless internet use via Wi-Fi, or with 3G networks, which also enable voice phone calls.

The MID also features a 4.8in touchscreen, webcam, and on-board sensors that pop up all open Windows when you shake the device, instead of making you touch each tab individually.

BenQ's MID uses Intel's Menlow set of chips, which includes a low-power microprocessor codenamed Silverthorne and a chipset codenamed Poulsbo. Intel designed Menlow for ultramobile devices.

Companies are developing ultramobile PCs and MIDs in a bid to attract users to device slightly smaller than notebook PCs, but with full PC functionality. Some analysts see the devices as the PC industry's answer to smartphones, but point out that many ultramobiles do not include telecommunications functions. BenQ's new MID does include telecommunications capabilities with its 3G support.

For more mobile phone reviews, news and tutorials, see Mobile Advisor, in association with BlackBerry


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