updated 05:00 pm EDT, Fri July 25, 2008
Toshiba 5.6-inch minibook
Toshiba may soon launch a small portable computer that would straddle the line between UMPCs such as Nokia's N810 and netbooks from the likes of the Eee PC and MSI Wind, according to a recent PC Authority report. The size and lack of a keyboard scream UMPC, but hardware and specs are very netbook-like. Preliminary specs for the 5.6-inch UMPC-like device include an Intel Atom processor sitting on a motherboard that's half the size of the one used in the company's Portege R500 notebook.
The report says a 64GB solid-state drive is fitted into the unnamed prototype, which runs on Microsoft's Windows Vista. GPS functionality is also integrated, thanks to a built-in antenna that curves around the perimeter of the small device. The virtual keyboard takes up two-thirds of the touch-screen's surface, in a similar vein to Apple's iPhone.
However, Toshiba staff is downplaying the chances of the prototype ever seeing production, at least in its current form. "We don't think this [prototype] is commercially viable, it's too small," said Toshiba's General Manager, Mark Whittard. "Having said that, we will have a ULPC (Ultra Low-Cost PC) soon."
Toshiba representatives went on to suggest they are looking into six or seven market segments, with a 9-inch netbook among the possibilities. Toshiba is not keen on taking on the Eee PC directly, stressing its product may not be a direct rival to the popular netbook.