Via Technologies plans to develop PC motherboards that are even smaller than the business card-sized Mobile ITX product it announced on Tuesday.
"In another year or two we will come out with even smaller form factors," Wenchi Chen, Via's CEO, promised at the Via Technology Forum, which is being held alongside the Computex exhibition in Taipei.
Chen used his keynote to unveil the Mobile ITX board developed by Via. Measuring 7.5 centimeters by 4.5 cm, the tiny motherboard pushes the limits of what's possible using currently available components. Over time, the integration of components, such as combining the CPU and chip set inside a single package to conserve space, will allow Via to shrink motherboard sizes further.
"The single CPU chip will happen," Chen said.
Via is a distant third in the microprocessor market, trailing far behind Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. But the company has found a small and growing niche in the market for low-power processor designed for small computers. Four or five years ago, that primarily meant small desktop computers based on Via's Mini-ITX motherboards, which measure 17 cm by 17 cm. But now hardware makers are putting Via's chips into small mobile devices.
Samsung Electronics last year became the first top-tier vendor to embrace Via's mobile chips, putting them inside its Q1 ultramobile PC. Since then, Hewlett-Packard has used Via's chips in a low-power desktop PC for China, and a string of vendors have announced portable computers based on them.
One of those companies is OQO, which uses a Via processor in its OQO model 02 ultramobile computer, which it bills as the smallest Windows Vista computer on the market.
Other ultramobile devices that use Via's processors include the NanoBook reference design announced Tuesday, and Giga-byte Technology's U60, which was sold in Taiwan through a partnership with Chunghwa Telecom, which bundled the device with its 3.5G mobile service. "It sold out in the first 20 minutes, faster than anything they'd experienced," Chen said.
And more is to come. Over the next six months, Via will announce deals with more vendors for ultraportable devices based on its chips, Chen said.