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Via debuts tiniest motherboard yet

Jun 6, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 16 views

Via CEO Wenchi Chen revealed a business card-sized motherboard billed as the “world's first industry-standard form-factor for PC/phone convergence,” at Computex today. The “mobile-ITX” board measures 3 x 1.8 inches — half the size of Via's “pico-ITX” form-factor — and runs Linux or Windows XP Embedded.

(Click for larger view of Wenchi Chen introducing the prototype Mobile-ITX board)

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Via in late April promised that “ultra-mobility” would be the focus of its eighth-annual Via Technology Forum, this year co-located in Taipei with the Computex trade show. The company's recent announcements related to mobile computing include the launch of the Pico-ITX form-factor, as well as the launch of several high-integration processors and chipsets designed to reduce board area and cooling requirements in small battery-powered devices.


Via's mobile-ITX board prototype
(Click to enlarge)

The mobile-ITX board that Chen demonstrated this morning appears to be based on a 1GHz “C7-S” processor — apparently a standard Via C7-M shoe-horned into a 9 x 11mm package. The chip had not previously been announced. The mobile-ITX board also apparently uses an “S” (small) version of the CX700 integrated north-/south-bridge chipset. And, it appears to have an on-board DC-DC converter. Additionally, according to Via, the board includes a CDMA baseband processor chip, suggesting that the mobile-ITX board could be used as the basis for x86-compatible smartphones.


Motorola phone compared to mobile-ITX

According to a brief item at EpiaCenter, Via's mobile-ITX board will be available with 256MB or 512MB of RAM soldered on-board, and will run Linux or Windows XP Embedded. Even an embedded version of Windows Vista may be too much for the little board, however, a Via spokesperson admits.

Chen stated, “This prototype Mobile-ITX gives a glimpse into the future of ultra mobile devices and the real convergence of computing and communications. Yet this is only the start. We see the platform shrinking still further, with ever richer blends of functionality, that will truly make ultra mobility the normal way of enjoying our content and our communications.”


Marketing Manager Tim Brown with Via's NanoBook UMPC reference design, and CEO Chen with mobile-ITX prototype
(Click to enlarge)

Given that Chen positioned mobile-ITX as an “industry standard,” lots of technical specifications about the form-factor should become available shortly. Meanwhile, EpiaCenter has posted a few photos, and a video, here.

Thanks to Christoph Derndorfer for calling out attention to this story


 
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