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A View from Brad King

New Chipset Could Reduce Mobile PC Size

A smaller, more powerful chip set announced by VIA Technologies could make mobile computing much easier.

  • July 7, 2006

There’s a minor buzz online about a new chipset, released by Taiwanese chipmaker Via Technologies, which would drastically reduce the size and weight of mobile computing, while increasing performance.

From the CIO blog:

The chipsets coupled with the Via C7-M microprocessor are designed to reduce power consumption and save battery life in ultra-mobile PCs, Via said. Microsoft launched the ultra-mobile PC concept earlier this year. Originally dubbed “Origami,” the devices were designed to contain the power of a full PC in a gadget small enough to be carried in a pocket, purse or backpack.

VIA’s chipset is, according to reports, set to hit the market sometime in the third quarter of this year. Not coincidentally, Microsoft – which has been developing a mobile PC strategy aimed at dethroning Apple – is set to launch its own series of entertainment devices (dubbed “iPod killers” by the press) in time for the Christmas holidays, according to a story in Red Herring.

If these reports are true, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I’m no fan of Apple’s business practices, but it’s hard to argue with the company’s success with the iPod family. Despite my repeated attempts to turn my friends and colleagues away from the devices, there is little I can rebuttal when talk turns to battery life and memory capabilities. If this new chipset delivers on its promise, though, consumers could be in for a new wave of mobile entertainment devices.

Of course, simple chipset and size reductions will do little for the mobile entertainment computing market if rumors of Apple’s new wireless iPod are true.

From the blog:

The new “wireless iPod,” [Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster] said, “will likely focus on ease of use, including wireless connectivity.”

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