updated 01:30 pm EDT, Tue June 5, 2007
Via's efforts at the Computex computer expo today have been headlined by the NanoBook ultra mobile device. While similar in spirit to the ASUS Eee PC in creating a full-fledged notebook with a 7-inch screen, the Via model includes a USB-based slot next to the display that can hold a companion device without creating extra bulk; Via suggests anything as basic as a world clock but as advanced as GPS units or 3G wireless adapters. The company also takes advantage of its expertise with mobile processors to optimize its 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage C7-M chip for as much as five hours of battery life versus the three of ASUS' rival.
More expansion is also on tap through the design. Ethernet and Wi-Fi are present but are joined by DVI output, room for up to 1GB of RAM, and the option of Bluetooth. The company has chosen a hard drive over flash and says its reference design can be equipped with either a 30GB or 60GB hard drive.
Via expects systems based on the core NanoBook platform to ship in the second half of the year, and notes that European PC builder Packard Bell has already volunteered to build its own variant known as the EasyNote XS. Pricing isn't known but should compete with today's UMPC handhelds.