With the array of Eee-style budget notebooks clamouring to play the role of your companion PC, Microsoft's UMPC format is being forced to think outside of its traditional box to score sales. Gigabyte have stepped up with the M700; while it may look like a typical 7-inch touchscreen slate, in actual fact it's running VIA's 1.2Ghz processor with the new VX800 chipset (with Chrome 9 graphics and video decoding hardware) and is part of the company's latest IPTV push. The M700 is in actual fact a mobile media center, complete with a dock that packs a digital TV tuner and IPTV streamer.
Check out the video overview of the Gigabyte M700 after the cut
You can think of the system as similar to a Slingbox, but with a built-in client. The docking station will have a variety of TV inputs (depending on region, so a US version might be set up for cable TV while a European model might use DVB-T) together with other audio/video inputs and outputs and an IR port, as well as room for an optical drive and an SD card slot. Gigabyte have apparently developed their own TV control software, so the eventual UMPC might not come with Microsoft's own Media Center OS.
The M700 itself weighs 650g and has an optical mouse, capacitive scroll-bar, GPS and a 1,024 x 600 touchscreen. Demo units have been running Windows Vista Home Premium. Inside there's 1GB of RAM (expandable to 2GB) and a rather small 40GB hard-drive (with 60GB an option), together with WiFi b/g and Bluetooth 2.0. Front and rear cameras make video conferencing straightforward.
Gigabyte expect to have the M700 on sale in Q3 2008; it's currently available for pre-order at Mobilx, but with no price publicised.
[via UMPC Portal]