CEBIT - Origami device with Via processor shown off

A new Origami device launched by PBJ Inc. runs on a processor from Via Technologies, proving the form factor is not solely Intel's territory.

Via Technologies is a company that takes pride in bursting illusions, such as the idea the new ultramobile PCs would only come equipped with Intel microprocessors. Instead, it appears that any x86-based processor will do.

In fact, PaceBlade Japan (PBJ) has launched an Origami device outfitted with the latest mobile processor from Via, the C7-M ULV processor, which runs at speeds from 1GHz to 1.5GHz. Via showed off the device at a news conference during the Cebit IT show in Hanover, Germany, on Friday.

Via's new processor allows companies to make smaller devices while maintaining the benefits of a full-sized Windows-based PC, said Otto Berkes, general manager of the mobile platforms division at Microsoft, in Via's news release.

PBJ's device boasts all the same capabilities as previously announced Origami gadgets, controls on the right and left side of the screen, wireless-LAN and Bluetooth capabilities and touch-screen operations thanks to its OS, Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet Edition. Dubbed the SmartCaddie, PBJ's new device is the first of its kind to use the new Via C7-M ULV processor, but Via expects to see more design wins.

"The [C7-M] is for a range of mobile devices, ultramobile PCs, notebooks and more," said Epan Wu, deputy director of CPU (central processing unit) product marketing at Via.

Intel announced the first three ultramobile PCs using its processors on Thursday, jointly with Microsoft. The companies said they had worked in tandem to develop the ultramobile PC form factor starting over a year ago as a project code-named Origami. The companies said Microsoft fine-tuned its Windows XP Tablet edition for the new style of device, but the processors used in the devices were not specifically designed for the ultramobile PC.

The ultramobile PC made by Samsung Electronics Co., the Q1, carries a 900MHz Intel Celeron M microprocessor.

The Via C7-M ULV processor is designed to use as little power as possible in order to reduce heat and lengthen battery life, with idle power as low as 0.1 watt. The chip is being manufactured for Via by IBM.

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Dan Nystedt

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