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VIA rains on Palm's Foleo parade with the NanoBook Ultra Mobile Device (UMD) Reference Design

Not to be outdone by Asus' new Eee PC 701 UMPC, VIA Technologies has a new mobile PC of its own to show off. Palm may also be running for cover after the lukewarm reception that its Foleo received when it was announced last week. The new NanoBook Ultra Mobile Device (UMD) Reference Design is built on the VIA UMD platform and packs quite a punch into a pint-sized package.

The NanoBook is capable of running various flavors of Linux, Windows XP or Windows Vista and supports MobilityPLUS Modules. MobilityPLUS allows the customer to install optional accessories into a slot next to the screen such as VoIP phones, GPS, DVB or 3G wireless solutions.

The NanoBook features a 7" WVGA touch screen display, 1.2GHz VIA C7-M ULV processor, VIA VX700 chipset, 1GB DDR2 memory, 30GB HDD 802.11b/g wireless, Bluetooth, 4-in-1 media reader, two USB 2.0 ports and a DVI port.

The portable device measures 9.0" x 6.7" x 1.5" and weighs just 1.87 pounds. VIA says that the NanoBook can operate for up to 4.5 hours on its 4-cell battery.

"The VIA NanoBook UMD Reference Design turns my dream of creating a full featured Ultra Mobile Device that delivers a rich computing, communications, and Internet computing experience into a reality," said Wenchi Chen, President and CEO of VIA Technologies. "With its highly-functional yet ultra compact form factor and extended battery life, it will enable people to enjoy the Mobility 2.0 lifestyle at any place and any time."

VIA has already signed up one partner to use the NanoBook UMD reference design: Packard Bell with its new EasyNote XS. "The EasyNote XS is a ground breaking new device that combines the functionality of a PC with the convenience of a handheld," said Roger Yuen, VP of Asia and Global Operations for Packard Bell. "We are very excited about the potential of this new category of Ultra Mobile Devices in the market."

The VIA NanoBook will be available from OEMs and system integrators in the second half of 2007 and has an estimated price tag of $600.

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By kamiller42 on 6/5/2007 11:44:39 AM , Rating: 2
Palm announces a nano-book with cell phone integration, and the response is "ho-hum." Via does the same, and the response is "Hey! Cool!" This Via box is not the same as Foleo as it is not instant on, has moving parts, and smaller screen and keyboard.

Does anyone believe this Via box will adequately Vista? I question how well it will run XP too.

RE: Reality
By Chris Peredun on 6/5/2007 12:01:33 PM , Rating: 4
This Via box is not the same as Foleo

Indeed; this one is worth buying.

The Foleo is not a full-fledged notebook, it's a "smartphone companion" running an embedded OS.

VIA's Nanobook is essentially a notebook that shrunk in the rinse cycle. It runs Windows, Linux, or whatever other OS you want to load on it.

RE: Reality
By TomZ on 6/5/2007 12:14:42 PM , Rating: 1
Does anyone believe this Via box will adequately Vista? I question how well it will run XP too.

I've got Vista running on a CarPC that is a 1.5GHz Via with 1GB, and it runs just fine. Based on this, I would guess Vista runs fine on this UMC. I think where you typically have performance problems on Vista is when you have 512MB of RAM or less.

RE: Reality
By erwos on 6/5/2007 1:07:43 PM , Rating: 2
Here's the problem: yes, the Foleo has instant-on, and yes, it's entirely solid state. Both of those are nice. It's just that start-up speed doesn't matter when you can't do anything serious with it.

The Foleo isn't a laptop replacement. It's good for simple presentations, light document editing, and standard web browsing. Once you get beyond that, the thing is basically a $600, 2.4 pound paperweight that you're going to have to lug around in addition to your regular laptop.

The 1.2ghz C7-M in the NB isn't exactly a speed demon, but it's reasonably competitive with the Intel A110 (800mhz P-M). You can do real work on a machine like that, even if things are a bit slower than usual. I think it'll run Vista fine, seeing as it can't run Aero. However, since it has a touchscreen, it can use the Origami interface, which is nice for multimedia stuff.

If they can put out a ReadyBoost-enabled Sideshow device for that module bay, with 256mb+ of storage, I'll buy a NanoBook, no question about it. It could also use a dock, but that's more of a suggestion than a requirement.

RE: Reality
By psychobriggsy on 6/5/2007 1:49:27 PM , Rating: 3
I think the issue is one of:

Foleo: Large 1024x768 screen that does a limited set of functions. $500
This: Small 800x480 touchscreen that is a full PC. $600

Maybe if Via put their hardware inside the Foleo and make it touchscreen and sold it for $700 we'd all be happy. The small display on the VIA system really reduces its usefulness (ever seen Outlook on a 800x480 display? Ugh, a mess that will frustrate) but the touch screen is really useful.

I'm thinking that in a couple of years someone might get it right: Psion 5mx, 2009 edition.

By Jeffree on 6/5/2007 11:28:02 AM , Rating: 2
I'd rather have a wider screen than the time/temp/whatever. Other than that, pretty neat as long as you have decent vision!

RE: interesting
By erwos on 6/5/2007 12:33:06 PM , Rating: 2
It's probably because 7" 800x480 screens are readily available and cheap. The next step up is a 10" screen, and that clearly wouldn't fit on a machine of this size.

RE: interesting
By corduroygt on 6/5/2007 1:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
There are 8.4 inch screens available for less than $100, I assume in bulk, they'd be much cheaper.

RE: interesting
By erwos on 6/5/2007 1:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't aware of those. But in any case, they really don't appear to have room for anything much larger.

RE: interesting
By Chris Peredun on 6/5/2007 1:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't aware of those.

Me neither.

Link to where I can purchase a half-dozen or so for home automation?

By Master Kenobi on 6/5/2007 11:02:59 AM , Rating: 2
Not a bad price at all...... I could get used to this.

RE: Hawt
By Chris Peredun on 6/5/2007 11:12:47 AM , Rating: 5
Assuming they can deliver on that $600 price point, that is. I could see these becoming popular for site-surveys and other "wandering network admin" tasks. The presence of a DVI port is nice as well.

Though someone needs a few lashings with a wet noodle for the saying "Mobility 2.0"

By adam92682 on 6/5/2007 1:06:06 PM , Rating: 2
I thought it would have something to do with PSP

By pugster on 6/5/2007 5:15:47 PM , Rating: 2
MobilityPLUS modules? They could've used pcmia cards instead of some kind of weird interface. Nevertheless, looks very good, until Asus announced their ump solution.

By erwos on 6/5/2007 11:08:02 AM , Rating: 2
The LCD is 800x480. The VIA spec sheet is wrong - the iDot one is right.

And this is one awesome ultra-portable, given the price. CPU is a bit slow, but should be adequate.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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