DigiTimes is running a fascinating story on the VIA / Intel battle for the UMPC processor. Apparently, Microsoft almost tapped VIA as its’ processor of choice, but the move was given the thumbs down by Samsung.
Had they tapped VIA instead, Microsoft would have been much closer to reaching their target price of $500 – $600. As it stands right now, though, TabletKiosks VIA powered eo is priced at $899 with 256mb of ram. I’d look for those prices to come down, though.
Market sources indicated that Microsoft originally planned to partner with VIA Technologies to promote its “Origami” Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC), as VIA’s C7-M embedded processor is priced at US$700-800, compared to the Intel Celeron M and Pentium M series at US$1,200-1,400. VIA’s chip, however, is not preferred by OEM vendors, including Samsung Electronics and Asustek Computer, because of Intel’s stronger brand awareness and R&D capability, according to the sources.
Samsung, however, could be in the development phase of incorporating VIA’s C7-M embedded processor in UMPC models, the sources stated.
VIA’s C7-M embedded processor has been adopted by Japan’s PBJ, DualCor and TabletKiosk, according to the company, which believes that its embedded processor line will be a major contributor to its performance in 2006.