Via Unveils Design for Ultraportable Laptop to be Sold by Packard Bell

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Chip maker Via Technologies has created a reference design for a laptop that it believes is small enough to compare to a handheld computer.

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This design is for a clamshell device — called the NanoBook — that will be 9 inches wide, 6.7 inches deep, and 1.14 inches thick when closed. (230 mm by 171 mm by 29.4 mm). It will weigh about 1.9 pounds (850 g).

It is, naturally, built around a low voltage 1.2 GHz Via C7-M processor, and is capable of running either Windows XP or Windows Vista Basic.

The NanoBook design includes s 7-inch, 800-by-400-pixel (WVGA) touchscreen, a full-size keyboard, a touchpad, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

In addition, it includes a place for MobilityPLUS Modules. These allow the addition of Bluetooth VoIP phone, GPS, DVB, 3G/CDMA or Clock functionality.

Via has also included an Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports, and a 4-in-1 card reader.

A 30 GB or 60 GB hard drive is part of the design.

Via doesn’t say what it believes laptops based on the NanoBook design will cost, but it does say it is "targeted at aggressive consumer price points".

The company also says that these devices should offer up to 4.5 hours of battery life.

Better Than a PDA, Smaller Than a Laptop

The Via NanoBook Reference Design was created in collaboration with First International Computer, Inc.

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"The unrivaled portability and functionality of the VIA NanoBook makes small screen PDA devices seem hopelessly obsolete," stated John Villejo, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for FIC. "Users searching beyond cumbersome laptops will also find familiarity with the ergonomics of the VIA NanoBook but with the added benefit of extreme mobility."

Coming from Packard Bell

Via will not make be making the NanoBook itself. Instead it is offering the reference design for this ultra mobile device (UMD) to other companies to produce.

The first company that will do so is Packard Bell, who will base the forthcoming EasyNote XS on it.

"The EasyNote XS is a ground breaking new device that combines the functionality of a PC with the convenience of a handheld," commented Roger Yuen, Asia Pacific Vice President of Packard Bell. "We are very excited about the potential of this new category of Ultra Mobile Devices in the market."

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