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BenQ to launch Linux ultramobile device in Q2

By Dan Nystedt
February 12, 2008 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Taiwan's BenQ is showing off a new user interface on an ultramobile PC that it plans to start marketing in the second quarter of this year, a spokeswoman for the company said Tuesday.

The device is being displayed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as part of BenQ's new mobile offerings. It was first shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.

BenQ has taken on the new moniker coined by Intel Corp. -- mobile Internet device (MID) -- for its new gadget, a name that appears to be replacing the term ultramobile PC. Ultramobiles have so far not fared well in global markets, despite a much-hyped launch and backing by heavyweights such as Microsoft Corp. and Intel.

BenQ's MID sports a Linux operating system, but the company tweaked the user interface to work more closely with its functions. Although full details have not yet been released, the company has said the MID is equipped for wireless Internet use via Wi-Fi, or with third-generation telecommunications networks, which also enable voice phone calls.

China's Red Flag developed the Linux operating system, but BenQ customized the interface to make its MID unique, said Jean Hsu, a BenQ representative.

The MID also features a 4.8-in. touch-screen, 0.3-megapixel Web cam, and on-board sensors that minimize and pop up all open Windows when you shake the device, instead of making you touch each tab individually.

BenQ's MID uses Intel's Menlow set of chips, which includes a low-power microprocessor code-named Silverthorne and a chip set codenamed Poulsbo. Intel designed Menlow for ultramobile devices.

Companies are developing ultramobile PCs and MIDs in a bid to attract users to device slightly smaller than notebook PCs, but with full PC functionality. Some analysts see the devices as the PC industry's answer to smart phones, but point out that many ultramobiles do not include telecommunications functions. BenQ's new MID does include telecommunications capabilities with its 3G support.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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