Ultra Mobile PCs: Dropped By Intel, Embraced By VIA
Intel declared the Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) dead, and VIA picked it up. Most of the VIA Tech Forum (VTF), which takes place at the Grand Hyatt hotel during Computex, is about ultra mobile computing. Hence it is not surprising to see VIA talking about a new platform concept called Esther. It is supposed to enable generation 2 Ultra Mobile PC solutions, which are hoped to be considerably smaller and more versatile. Although several manufacturers have picked up the concept, it remains to be seen whether it can be more successful than Intel's approach.
U60 UMPC By Gigabyte
The U60 has a 6.5" touchscreen display and a keyboard that slides out at the bottom of the system. We found it difficult to type on the very small keys efficiently, which means that this second generation UMPC will mainly be operated with your fingers or a pen on the screen.
Gigabyte's U60 is a second generation UMPC, powered by VIA's C7-M ultra low-voltage processor. The processor isn't really fast if you compare it to a Core 2 Duo or the Turion 64 X2, but it is extremely efficient: VIA says it has a TDP of 3.5 to 7.5 W, depending on the clock speed. As mentioned, the system platform behind the U60 is called VIA Esther, and it is based on the VX-700 chipset and a C7-M processor.
The Q1b by Samsung is another neat UMPC design. Just like the Gigabyte U60, it has a touchscreen (7" instead of 6.5") and a keyboard that slides in and out.