VIA feeds fuel to the mini-note fire with new reference design

ViaopenbookWhen James and I heard directly from VIA over the weekend about an upcoming product announcement, we were hoping it would be on the availability of VIA’s new Isaiah CPU. It wasn’t, but the news is still pretty interesting and makes sense, given the momentum that the sub-notebook market has right now. If you remember, the VIA NanoBook reference design for a sub- or mini-note was seen in several iterations from folks like Everex, Packard Bell and about 14 others. Well, there’s a new reference design out from VIA and they’ve made it even easier for companies to build and sell devices in this hot sector.The new VIA Open-Book reference improves on the older NanoBook in several areas. The new VX800 chipset offers performance gains in multi-media apps and there are two internal modules so companies can choose the best connectivity options for their customers out of WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, HSDPA, EV-DO, WiMAX and more. All of the designs are based around the VIA C7-M for now, a 2.5-inch 80 GB hard drive, three USBs, an Ethernet jack, a 2 MP dual-head webcam and a 8.9-inch display running at 1024 x 600, all with a weight of around 2 pounds. Three hours of battery life is expected with a four-cell battery, but that’s likely to vary based on a vendor’s choice of OS and connectivity.It’s a smart move by VIA for a few reasons. It offers a savings to computer companies by taking care of all the base design work. They can easily just go with the reference design or spend a little time and money with some tweaks to make it their own. With the OpenBook designed around the VIA C7-M, it of course sells more CPUs for the company. Speaking of CPUs, isn’t Isaiah expected to fit in the same socket as a C7-M? If so, the OpenBook may be even more appealing to sellers: they’ve got a CPU upgrade ready for a next gen product without any major design changes or cost. You can see plenty more of this open design option at a special site VIA created for it: http://www.viaopenbook.com/

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