VIA intros NanoBook Ultra Mobile Device - $600 ultraportable laptop

Uh, Palm, the Foleo just got shown up. VIA just announced the NanoBook Ultra Mobile Device, a reference design for a new ultraportable laptop which just happens to be lighter and smaller than the Foleo -- and which will supposedly retail for just $600. The NanoBook runs on either Windows XP or Vista, weighs less than 850g (1.87 pounds), and sports a 1.2GHz VIA C7-M processor, up to 1GB of RAM, a 30GB hard drive, a 7-inch WVGA display, 802.11g WiFi, Bluetooth (they don't specify which kind), DVI-out, a slot next to the screen where you can pop in a GPS, VoIP, or WWAN module (the module in the pic above is some world clock thing), and up to five hours of battery life. Packard Bell has already signed on to use the reference design as the basis for the EasyNote XS, which is due out in Europe later this year; VIA tells us that at least one other OEM is on-board, but they weren't ready to announce who it was yet.

We played with a NanoBook prototype the other day, and while there are a few compromises -- the touchpad is way too small, there's no integrated WWAN (apart from the possibility of that optional module we mentioned), the pop-in module takes up space that we'd rather they'd used for a larger display, and there's probably not quite enough RAM for a full-fledged Vista experience -- the prospect of paying just $600 for full-fledged ultraportable laptop that weighs under two pounds is mighty alluring.