Samsung quietly launches new ultramobile PCs

Samsung has quietly launched two new versions of its Q1 ultramobile PC, one with a Pentium M and one with a Via C7 processor.

Samsung Electronics has quietly launched two new versions of its Q1 ultramobile PC.

One of the models has a faster processor and more hard-disk storage space than the model offered at launch, while the other is based on a processor from Via Technologies rather than Intel.

Samsung didn't make a formal announcement about the machines' availability but they were noted in its third-quarter earnings report released earlier this week. The company declined to provide detailed specifications for the computers but said they are on sale in some European and Asian countries and in the U.S.

An Internet search revealed listings for the machines on some regional Samsung Web sites.

They are the Q1-Pentium, which runs an Intel Pentium M 723 1GHz processor, and the Q1b, which is based on Via Technologies Inc.'s C7 1GHz processor. The original Q1, which was launched with great fanfare at this year's Cebit show in Germany in March, ran an Intel Celeron M 900MHz processor.

The Q1-Pentium has a 60G-byte hard-disk drive and 1G-byte of memory, while the Q1b has a 40G-byte drive and 512M bytes of memory. The latter configuration is similar to the original model. The screen on both machines is unchanged from the launch model. It's a 7-inch widescreen touch-panel display with 800 by 480 pixel resolution.

The Q1-Pentium is priced at US$1,250 and the Q1b US$900, according to a listing on Internet shopping sites newegg.com and cdw.com. The same sites sell the original model for US$1,000.

Samsung has also been selling another version of the Q1, but only in South Korea. Earlier this year it launched the Q1-SSD, which does away with the hard-disk drive and uses instead a 32G-byte solid-state disk memory.

Several other computer makers including Sony and Fujitsu have announced computers using flash memory in place of a hard-disk drive. They offer several advantages, including lower power consumption and operating noise, but they also tend to be much more expensive. The Q1-SSD costs around 2.3 million won (AUD$3,150) in South Korea, almost double the price of the Q1, which sells for 1.2-million won (AUD$1650).

In Australia, Ultra Mobile PC distributor Tegatech Australia, recently gained approval to distribute the Samsung Q1 to its channel of authorised resellers.

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