We had a chance to sit down with VIA's VP of sales and marketing, Richard Brown, earlier today to discuss the finer points of the company's position in the marketplace. While it was a intriguing conversation (mostly about the state of netbook and smartphone CPUs in 2009), our eye was caught by a prototype netbook he'd brought with him. The 'book in question is a Nano-driven model that will be sold under the "Dr. Mobile" brand name and dubbed the "FreeStyle." The system boasts a 1.3GHz CPU (which can be clocked to 1.6GHz), runs atop the VX800 chipset, features an 11.6-inch (1366 x 768) display, a proper trackpad with two real buttons, and sports 802.11b/g, Bluetooth, and optional onboard mobile broadband. Besides having a truly healthy amount of screen real estate for such a small display, the laptop was surprisingly stylish and lightweight -- a welcome change from the stream of generic netbooks we've seen as of late. The company expects it to clock in at $500 when it hits around February, and says that the CPU outperforms similarly-spec'd Atom chips, with decent support for Vista. We should see a working model on the floor at CES, so keep your eyes peeled for a followup. For now, enjoy the hands-on!
Nano-powered "FreeStyle" netbook hands-on