Via Displays Netbooks, PCs With Rival Chip to Intel Atom

Via Technologies on Thursday showed off several new products armed with its new Nano microprocessor, the chip it hopes will compete with the Intel Atom in netbooks and other devices.

One of the coolest new netbooks using the Nano is from Dr. Mobile, the FreeStyle 1300n.

The mini-laptop, which has an 11.6-inch screen, carries a 1.3GHz Via Nano microprocessor on board and uses Microsoft's Windows Vista Home Basic OS. It can also hold up to 4GB of DRAM and 2.5-inch hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid state drives (SSDs) for storage.

The FreeStyle 1300n, which can connect wirelessly to the Internet through Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, can also be fitted with wireless modules to allow it be to used with mobile-phone networks including HSPA (high-speed packet access) and China's 3G (third-generation mobile telecommunications) standard, TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access).

The netbook is expected to debut next month for around US$500.

Dr. Mobile is also showing a smaller netbook with an 8.9-inch screen, the FreeStyle Mini, with a 1.3GHz Nano microprocessor, though the device can also come with a Via C-7 M microprocessor instead.

Via has been marketing the Nano processor at small laptops with screens around 11 inches to 13 inches instead of netbooks with screens up to 10 inches. The company is promoting its low-power C7-M microprocessors for netbooks.

Another netbook, the Lengda V10A Mini-Note, which sports a 10.2-inch display, was also on show at Via's booth. The netbook has a 1.3GHz Via Nano microprocessor, and Via VX800 chipset with integrated Chrome9 graphics.

Via also had some desktop systems on display with the Nano, including a motherboard from Foxconn Electronics.

Richard Brown, a vice president at Via, said PC vendor Shuttle also planned to show off PCs based on the Via Nano.

Via hopes the Nano can help it compete better against chip giant Intel and its Atom microprocessor family, which has grabbed a large share of the netbook market.

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