VIA OpenBook mini-note reference ultraportable revealed

VIA has unveiled its latest ultraportable notebook reference design, the OpenBook mini-note, intended to promote its C7-M ULV based Ultra Mobile Platform.  Combining the low-voltage and economical processor with the company's own VX800 digital media IGP chipset, the OpenBook has an 8.9-inch screen and a choice of WiMAX, HSDPA and EV-DO/W-CDMA modules for mobile connectivity.  The OpenBook also has dual 2-megapixel webcams (internal and on the outer lid) together with up to 2GB of RAM, which should cater reasonably for the choice of Vista Basic, XP or various Linux flavors.

The OpenBook weighs less than 1kg and measures 240 x175 x 36.2mm.  It has three USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port and audio-in/audio-out jacks, as well as a 4-in-1 card reader (SD/SDIO/MMC/MS).  Both traditional hard-drives as well as SSDs are listed, and battery life is up to three hours courtesy of a 4-cell 2600mA lithium-ion pack.  A second wireless connectivity module provides WiFi, Bluetooth and optional AGPS.

While reference designs are ten-a-penny, VIA's track record makes the OpenBook important.  The company's previous ultraportable reference model, the NanoBook UMPC, was picked up by multiple manufacturers and released as the Everex Cloudbook, the Packard Bell EasyNote XS and the Maxdata Belinea, among others.  This time round, VIA have released CAD files of the OpenBook's external panels under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license, making OEM design modification even easier.

VIA are yet to announce whether any manufacturers have picked up the OpenBook, but given the flourishing budget ultraportable market and the shortage of Intel's Atom mobile processor, it's not unreasonable to expect quite a few takers.

Press Release

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today introduced the new VIA OpenBook™ mini-note reference design targeted at the rapidly growing global market for ultra-portable notebooks. 


The VIA OpenBook mini-note reference design introduces a host of new innovations, including the next generation of VIA Ultra Mobile Platform, based on the VIA C7®-M ULV processor and the new all-in-one VIA VX800 digital media IGP chipset. Together, this ultra compact, power efficient platform delivers richer computing and multimedia features, including a stunning 8.9" screen and greater video playback support, in a compact and stylish clamshell form factor that weighs just 1kg.


The VIA OpenBook features a flexible internal interface for high-speed broadband wireless connectivity that provides customers with the ability to select from a choice of WiMAX™, HSDPA and EV-DO/W-CDMA modules appropriate to their market. In addition, under a unique collaborative approach, the CAD files of the external panels of the reference design are offered for downloadunder a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license to give customers such as OEMs, system integrators, and broadband service providers greater freedom in tailoring the look and feel of their device to meet the diverse needs of their target markets.


"The VIA OpenBook builds on the great success of the VIA NanoBook reference design launched last year, which has been widely adopted by numerous customers around the world," commented Richard Brown, Vice President of Corporate Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. "Our unique open approach to case design customization and wireless connectivity flexibility, coupled with the higher levels of performance, further extends VIA's leadership in the global mini-note market."


"VIA is a forward thinking company that has realized that sharing enables a healthy ecosystem which helps them provide an innovative product which supports their core business," commented Jon Phillips, Business and Community Manager for Creative Commons. "Making the actual raw CAD files available under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license is a brilliant first step that clearly and legally allows others to emergently build upon VIA's open innovation."

The VIA OpenBook Mini-Note Reference Design

Powered by the VIA C7-M ULV processor and the VIA VX800 digital media IGP chipset, the VIA OpenBook mini-note reference design is a small, 1kg, 8.9" mini-notebook form factor design that supports screen resolutions of up to 1024x600 and high performance VIA Chrome9™ DirectX™ 9.0 3D graphics. Advanced video acceleration for  MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9, VC1 and DiVX video formats, a VMR capable HD video processor and 8-channel HD audio make it a highly media rich mini-notebook platform.


The VIA OpenBook mini-note reference design offers unrivaled broadband connectivity options though two internal modules, with the first one featuring WiFi, Bluetooth, and optional AGPS connections and the second one offering a choice of WiMAX, HSDPA, or EV-DO/W-CDMA options. In addition, the VIA OpenBook also comes with three USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port, and audio-in/audio-out jacks as well as a 4-in-1 card reader (SD/SDIO/MMC/MS) and a 2 mega-pixel dual-headed web camera.  


The VIA OpenBook supports a wide range of operating system environments, including Microsoft Windows Vista Basic, Microsoft Windows XP, and various Linux distributions. The device features up to 2GB DDR2 DRAM and can be equipped with a choice of hard disk drive and solid state storage options.


Featuring a 4-cell 2600mA lithium-ion battery, the VIA OpenBook delivers up to three hours of battery life and measures just 240mm(W)x175mm (D) x36.2mm (H).


For more information, file downloads, video and images of the VIA OpenBook mini-note reference design please visit the VIA OpenBook website here: 


Enabling Global Broadband Wireless Coverage

The VIA OpenBook reference design has a unique internal interface for the addition of a choice of extended connectivity modules, enabling customers to offer HSDPA, EV-DO/W-CDMA, and WiMAX connectivity options to the their device that are appropriate for their target markets, and to forge deeper relationships with local carriers and service providers, creating new business models for the mini-note segment.


Making Customization More Accessible

The CAD files for the external panels of the VIA OpenBook mini-note reference design are being released under the Creative Commons Share Alike Attribution license, giving customers the flexibility to bring their own innovative style and brand value propositions to the mini-note market segment. Through this flexible approach, customers can reduce product development costs and speed time-to-market. The CAD files can be downloaded from the website.


About the VIA Ultra Mobile Platform

The VIA Ultra Mobile Platform is centered around the VIA C7-M ULV processor, an ultra power efficient mobile processor available in speeds of 1.0-1.6GHz with a maximum power draw (TDP max) of only 3.5 watts, and idle power as low as 0.1 watt, helping to ensure longer battery life. The number one choice for ultra mobile devices with over 30 global design wins, the most on the market today, the VIA C7-M ULV processor's low profile nanoBGA2 package measures just 21mm x 21mm, enabling device designs with drastically reduced weight, size, and thickness.


The latest generation of VIA Ultra Mobile Platform pairs the VIA C7-M ULV processor with the VIA VX800 digital media IGP chipset, which integrates all the cutting-edge features of a modern chipset's North and South bridges into a single chip package measuring just 33mm x 33mm, for a silicon real estate saving of more than 42% over traditional twin-chip core logic implementations. The VIA Chrome9™ HC integrated graphics processor with DirectX® 9.0 3D graphics provides support for brilliant 3D graphics, while the VIA Chromotion™ CE video display engine offers a stunning video experience through hardware decoding acceleration of MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9 and VC1 video formats.


For more details on the VIA Ultra Mobile Platform, please visit the VIA website at:



About VIA Technologies, Inc.

VIA Technologies, Inc is the foremost fabless supplier of power efficient x86 processor platforms that are driving system innovation in the PC, client, ultra mobile and embedded markets. Combining energy-saving processors with digital media chipsets and advanced connectivity, multimedia and networking silicon enables a broad spectrum of computing and communication platforms, including its widely acclaimed ultra compact mainboards. Headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, VIA's global network links the high tech centers of the US, Europe and Asia, and its customer base includes the world's top OEMs and system integrators.