Via sits a distant third behind Intel and AMD in the battle for CPU supremacy, but the Taiwanese company has found success over the years by finding niches for its products, from placing its C3 processors in thin clients and other low-power applications to building chipsets that supported SDRAM back in the Pentium III era, when Intel made the mistake of pushing RAMBUS memory exclusively. According to DigiTimes, Via is restructuring in order to put an increased focus on ultramobile PCs, believing that these UMPCs are a) poised to take off next year and b) the perfect platform for its low-voltage C7-M processors.
With their weak performance, woeful battery life, and high prices, Intel-based UMPCs from Samsung and Sony failed to impress when they were released this past summer. Hopefully, Via can spur some innovation within this area. If the Everex StepNote NC1500--a laptop that features Via's 1.5GHz C7-M processor--is any indication, however, Via-based UMPCs will be cheaper than their Intel competition but won't necessarily have improved performance or battery life. We'll test and review Via-based UMPCs as soon as we're able; stay tuned.