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“Dr. Mobile” prescribes Nano for netbooks

Jan 7, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Taiwanese manufacturer “Dr. Mobile” announced what appears to be the first netbook using Via's Nano processor. The FreeStyle 1300n offers an 11.6-inch screen, up to 4GB of RAM, a webcam, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a PCI Express Mini Card slot for optional broadband, the company says.

(Click here for a larger view of Dr. Mobile's FreeStyle 1300n)

Anticipated ever since Via's May 2008 announcement of its 64-bit, 65nm Nano processor, Nano netbooks have the potential to outperform those based on Intel's ubiquitous Atom N270 — though with a potential sacrifice in battery life. Third-party comparisons of the Atom and the Nano, using desktop versions of the CPUs, have shown the Nano outperforming the Atom by up to 30 percent. But, while both CPUs have similar power consumption at idle, the Nano drinks significantly more juice under load, reports say. For more details, see our earlier coverage, here.

Via says its mobile-oriented, 1.3GHz Nano U2350 — used by Dr. Mobile's in its new netbook — has an idle power consumption of 100mW, and an eight Watt maximum TDP. Meanwhile, the chipmaker's VX800 integrated northbridge/southbridge, also part of the FreeStyle 1300n, has a five Watt max TDP. For comparison, Intel's 1.6GHz N270, 945GCSE northbridge, and 82801GBM southbridge, have an overall TDP of approximately nine Watts.

Real-world performance and battery life figures for Dr. Mobile's FreeStyle 1300n won't, of course, be available until the device ships. Still, the netbook apparently has more to offer than just an alternative CPU. For example, while Atom-based netbooks are limited to 2GB of RAM, the FreeStyle is said to accept 4GB of memory via two SO-DIMM slots. Also, the device has a larger-than-average 11.6-inch display, with 1366 x 768 resolution, Dr. Mobile says.

According to Dr. Mobile, the FreeStyle 1300n accepts 2.5-inch SATA HDDs (hard disk drives) or SSDs (solid state disks), though available sizes weren't specified. Like most other netbooks, it also has a slot that accepts add-on flash storage in SD or Memory Stick formats.

Other ingredients include a 1.3 megapixel webcam, three USB 2.0 ports, and VGA output. In addition to a gigabit Ethernet port, Dr. Mobile's baby includes 802.11b/g wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0. According to the company, the netbook's internal PCI Express Mini Card slot provides for forthcoming cellular and WiMAX wide area networking options.

Features and specifications listed by Dr. Mobile for the FreeStyle 1300n include:

  • Processor — 1.3GHz Via Nano U2350, with 800MHz FSB and 1MB second-level cache
  • Memory — Up to 4GB via two SO-DIMM slots
  • Storage — n/s, but accepts 2.5-inch SATA devices
  • Display — 11.6-inch screen with 1366 x 768 resolution
  • Camera — 1.3 megapixel webcam
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Wireless:
    • WLAN — 802.11b/g
    • PAN — Bluetooth 2.0

  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x VGA
    • 3 x USB 2.0

  • Expansion:
    • SD/SDHC/MMC memory card reader
    • PCI Express Mini Card slot

  • Battery — 3800mAh lithium-polymer battery
  • Dimensions — 11.06 x 7.79 x 0.98 inches (281 x 198 x 25mm)
  • Weight — 2.86 pounds (1.3kg)
Further information

According to Dr. Mobile, the FreeStyle 1300n will be offered with either Windows XP or Windows Vista Home Basic operating systems. While not available pre-installed, Linux will likely run on the device. Pricing and availability were not announced, but it's rumored that the device will ship in February.

More information on the FreeStyle 1300n may be found on the Dr. Mobile website, here.

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