A week or so ago, representatives of VIA Technologies, Inc. visited us to show off their OpenBook reference design. VIA designed the mini-notebook to demonstrate to manufacturers what is possible in an ultra-portable computer. You can’t buy the OpenBook directly from VIA, but you’ll see it or concepts in the OpenBook in products from other manufacturers soon. The OpenBook is 9.5" wide by 6.9" deep and 1.1" to 1.4" high. It weighs about 2.2 pounds. The display measures 8.9" and features a resolution of 1024x600. All images courtesy VIA Technologies, Inc.
The VIA OpenBook reference design is built around the company’s C7-M ultra-low voltage CPU. The C7-M is available in speeds from 1.0 to 1.6 GHz. VIA claims that the CPU’s maximum power consumption is 3.5 watts at full power and as low as 0.1 watts during idle. The CPU comes in a small 21 mm x 21 mm package.
We apologize for the quality of this diagram, but it is still possible to discern key features of the VIA CPU-"chipset" combination that powers the OpenNote. The VX800 integrates North and South bridge technology into a single package that measures 33mm x 33mm. The VIA Chrome 9 integrated graphics processor supports DirectX 9.0 and the VIA Chromotion CE video display engine supports hardware decoding acceleration of MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9 and VC1 video formats.
The VIA OpenBook reference mini-notebook’s keyboard doesn’t take advantage of the full width of the case as does the HP 2133 Mini-Note, which features VIA’s C7 CPU.
VIA’s OpenBook reference mini-notebook specs a 2.5" 80 GB hard disk drive, up to 2 GB of DDR2 memory, a 1.2 MP dual headed webcam, a 4-cell 2600 mAh lithium-ion battery with a claimed life of 3 hours and support for Bluetooth, WiFi and LAN connectivity, with optional WiMAX or HSDPA or WCDMA 3.5G. This is one of the few mini-notebooks that fully exploits the breed’s portability by offering a full range of wide area networking options.
The left side of the VIA OpenBook includes a DC power jack, two USB 2.0 ports and inputs for a microphone and headphones.
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The right side of the VIA OpenBook reference unit features a third USB 2.0 port, a 10/100 Ethernet port and a VGA connector for an external monitor.
The VIA OpenBook reference model runs an impressive range of operating systems: Vista and XP, as well as three flavors of Linux.