Toshiba is hoping to join the low-cost PC ranks by launching a device that morphs the cost of netbooks with the function of a UMPC.

Basically looking like an iPhone on chrome-plated acid, the prototype device totes Windows Vista on an Intel Atom processor, with a 5.6 inch screen.

Although a little too dinky for the touchscreen keyboard, this could be remedied if a mooted nine inch version gets released, according to PC Authority Magazine.

The device also uses a similar motherboard as seen in Toshiba's Portege R500, as well as a 64GB SSD as well as GPS, with the antenna snugly curved under the housing.

Checking the market

However, Toshiba is still looking at the market before deciding what it wants to release as its opening salvo in the low-cost market, according to Toshiba's Mark Whittard.

"We don't think this [prototype] is commercially viable, it's too small. Having said that, we will have a ULPC soon.

"We've been sitting back and looking at the marketplace," he said.

With the netbook market swiftly becoming swamped, it could be that a fusion between the UMPC - which has benefits but is frequently too battery hungry and overworking - and the netbook, which pops cheap components into a basic system, but lacks the necessary frills standard laptops cannot offer either.