Intel Shows Menlow-Powered Ultramobile PCs

Intel Corp. showed off six new ultramobile PCs on Monday. The PCs are designed around its Menlow chips, which will debut around the middle of next year.

Five of the ultramobiles were designed by Taiwanese companies, and it will be a first for four of them if they actually market the products. Asustek Computer Inc. is the only Taiwanese company of the group that has already launched an ultramobile PC, but it showed off a sleeker design at the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei.

BenQ Corp., a Taiwanese mobile phone and systems maker, displayed its first attempt at an ultramobile PC, as did laptop PC makers Quanta Computer Inc., Compal Electronics Inc., and Inventec Corp.

Elektrobit Corp., from Finland, also displayed an ultramobile PC.

The six designs are all part of Intel's Mobile Internet Device Innovation Alliance, in which group members worked together to solve engineering troubles associated with creating a small device able to connect to the Internet. The companies are all expected to launch new ultramobile PCs using Menlow microprocessors in the first half of 2008, and will likely display the items at the official launch of the Intel microprocessor.

Menlow is the code-name given to a set of chips Intel is developing for ultramobile PCs and mobile Internet devices (MIDs), due out next year. Menlow will include a new low-power microprocessor code-named Silverthorne and a chipset codenamed Poulsbo, according to Intel.

The company also showed off a mock-up of a product designed around its Moorestown chips, which are due out in 2009. The mock-up was about 8 inches by 3 in., with a touch screen on one side and a 6.0 megapixel video camera on the other. It was made to show hardware makers what's possible with Moorestown, said Gadi Singer, vice president of the Mobility Group at Intel. It is not being developed as a reference design, said Singer, who said he is not aware of any Intel partners currently making similar products.

Moorestown is the code-name for the chips that will replace Menlow. Intel expects to put the functions of several chips onto one with Moorestown, including the microprocessor, graphics, video and memory controller, and ensure a ten times reduction in power consumption compared to today's chips.

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