Computex 2007: Via 'credit card' motherboard

The Via NanoBook runs for about five hours on a battery charge when operating Windows XP

Taiwanese chip maker Via Technologies is going even smaller with its already minute motherboards. It's developing a new motherboard that's smaller than a credit card, the company said at Computex in Taiwan today.

The Via Mobile ITX motherboard measures a tiny 7.5 x 4.5 centimetres. But it still manages to cram in all the necessary components, such as memory, a chipset with integrated graphics and video capabilities, and a Via C7 processor.

Via didn't say which C7 processor would be included on the new motherboard, but did state that it uses just 0.25W. It will be used in smartphones and mobile phone handsets.

Via also announced its new NanoBook mini notebook computer, which it hopes will compete against similar but higher-priced small computers by Samsung and Intel.

The Via NanoBook will run for about five hours on a battery charge when operating Windows XP, said Richard Brown, Via's president of corporate marketing. The computer has a 1.2GHz C7 chip, 30GB hard drive and up to 1GB of memory.

The NanoBook also comes with a 7-inch screen, sports a regular Qwerty keyboard and weighs about 900g. It will sell for $599 (£300) or less, Via said - that's cheaper than similar computers.

Increasing demand

Consumers worried about smaller screens and keyboards, comparatively high prices, and other factors have typically stuck with regular notebooks. But the demand for mini-notebooks is starting to pick up, according to Brown.

"You've got to carry a notebook everywhere these days, even if you're taking the kids out," he said. "I look at it as extreme mobility."

Broadband is becoming more widespread, while blogging and online photo sites have changed the relationship many consumers have with their PCs. As a result some consumers will opt for the smaller version, Brown added.