Computex 2007: MSI, VIA, and ASUS

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Computex 2007: VIA

VIA focused on its low voltage and low power CPU and chipset products at Computex. One of the products the company was showcasing at CES was the OQO Model 02 UMPC. First announced to the world at Bill Gate’s CES Keynote earlier this year, the OQO Model 02 is a fancy, fully functional Windows XP based UMPC that can actually fit into your pocket.

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It is one of VIA’s biggest design wins on the UMPC front, and features VIA’s 1.5GHz C7-M processor, a 60GB hard drive, 512MB of DDR memory, and integrated Bluetooth and WIFI. The Model 02 has a slide under keyboard and a 5”, 800x480 screen. The OQO Model 02 has one integrated USB 2.0 port and has a sleek dock that has an integrated DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, 3 USB 2.0, and audio ports.

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The OQO Model 02 really is a fully functional PC that fits right into your pocket, and using it gives a glimpse at the future of mobile computing. Not only is the full internet available, but so are all Windows based applications. The OQO Model 02 even supports Windows Vista. I used the Model 02 to surf the web and check email, and was left truly impressed. It can even be pre-configured with a Sprint Mobile Broadband or Verizon Wireless Broadband Access Module so that you have full internet connectivity wherever you are. The drawback? Despite not having very much horespower, it costs around $1900.


VIA was also showing off their latest product, the VIA Nanobook. Half UMPC and half notebook computer, the Nanobook is a very light weight portable computer (weighs around 1.9 pounds), features a 1.2GHz VIA C7-M CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 30GB Hard Drive, 7 inch display (840x480 resolution), 802.11G WIFI, Bluetooth, DVI output, and an ExpressCard slot.

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The Nanobook’s small form factor requires a keyboard that resembles the one used in the Dell Inspiron 710M and the upcoming ASUS EEE PC 701, meaning that it is a little smaller than standard notebook keyboards. The Nanobook is fully customizable at the OEM level, meaning that OEMS, like Dell, HP, etc. can customize the Nanobook to include more onboard features, or even to use a different screen size. VIA has announced that Packard Bell will be shipping their Nanobook later this year in Europe, but haven’t officially announced who will be taking the Nanobook to retail in the US yet (although they have mentioned that talks are under way). We were able to use the Nanobook with Windows XP to surf the web and to type up a quick word file, and couldn’t find any issues with the Nanobook. It will be coming to market later this year and will cost around $600.

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And finally, VIA was showing off a new embedded motherboard platform that is about the size of a credit card. The platform has 256 or 512MB of  RAM built in, a 1GHz C7M CPU, and VIA says it can run Windows XP very easily. The company hinted that this new, still unnamed platform will bring even smaller UMPC designs to market, with perhaps some announcements around the time of CES 2008.


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