Via Courts Chinese PC Makers With NetNote Platform

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Via Technologies is gearing up to release a turnkey laptop platform called NetNote that's aimed at smaller Chinese computer makers.

The NetNote platform, which will ship during the fourth quarter, aims to exploit a gap in the market between netbooks, generally inexpensive laptops based on Intel's Atom processor with screen sizes up to 10.2 inches, and so-called thin and light machines, which use Intel's more powerful CULV processors and have bigger screens.

"Intel's trying to artificially differentiate between thin and light notebooks, based on CULV, and netbooks based on Atom. The sweet spot for us is in the middle," said Richard Brown, vice president of marketing at Via.

NetNote is therefore designed for laptops with screens measuring from 10.2 inches to 12.1 inches. Via, which is by far the smallest of the three x86 processor vendors, has done well in this segment, having won business from Lenovo and Samsung Electronics, which both use Via's Nano processor in laptops with 12.1-inch screens. With NetNote, the company hopes to build on that success.

The NetNote platform will initially be available with Via's C7-M processor, but a version that uses the Nano processor will be made available at a later date, Brown said. Pricing wasn't available.

NetNote, which includes hardware support for 1080p high-definition video, is primarily aimed at smaller laptop makers that don't have the resources to design a complete system on their own.

"Chinese PC makers want turnkey solutions This makes it easier for them to bring products to market," Brown said.

For PC makers that want more control over product design, Via is offering the NetNote Surfboard, a motherboard, which includes a Nano or C7-M processor and hardware support for 1080p high-definition video playback, as well as the option to add 3G cellular support.

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