VIA releases Tablet PC design

The prototype tablet runs on VIA's own C3 processor and ProSavage mobile chipset

Taiwan's VIA Technologies said on Sunday that it will support Microsoft's drive to promote the "Tablet PC" with its own reference design for manufacturers.

VIA's Tablet PC reference design runs on Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and includes Microsoft's "digital ink" handwriting-recognition technology.

The prototype weighs less than a laptop and runs on VIA's own C3 EBGA low-power processor and VIA ProSavage PN133 integrated mobile chipset. It incorporates a 10.4-inch touch screen, wireless connectivity, IEEE 1394 and USB connectivity and a pen-driven interface.

VIA recently launched a motherboard division which is partly aimed at boosting the development of embedded devices like tablets and digital set-top boxes.

The Tablet PC device, unveiled as a concept last year, was shown in prototype form at Comdex on Sunday with examples from Compaq Computer, NEC, Toshiba, Intel and others.

One of the devices resembled an Etch A Sketch, while another looked more like a notebook PC with a screen that could be rotated to sit on top of the keyboard. One was small enough to be considered a handheld.

"The VIA Tablet PC reference design bridges the gap between PC and notepad," said Richard Brown, VIA's director of marketing, in a statement.

CNET News.com's Ian Fried and Wylie Wong contributed to this report.

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