VIA is no stranger to the netbook space. The company’s C7-M chips showed up in some of the first netbooks to hit the streets. And last year the VIA Nano line of low power processors upped the game with better performance in a chipset that could easily be thrown into a motherboard designed for the earlier C7-M. But with Intel’s Atom chips dominating the netbook market in the developed world, VIA has pretty much focused its efforts on China and other developing nations.
The VX900 media processor enables 1080p HD video playback on low power netbooks, as well as DirectX 9 graphics support — but not DirectX 10. In other words, don’t expect this chipset to compete with NVIDIA’s ION solution. But since the VX900 chip can be bundled with a low cost VIA X7 or Nano processor, it might allow companies including Samsung and Lenovo to offer cheaper alternatives to netbooks with NVIDIA ION graphics.
Both companies have previously released notebooks with VIA chipsets. The Samsung NC20 has a VIA Nano processor, while the cheapest version of the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 ships with a Nano option.
There are no additional details about the upcoming VIA-based systems from these companies. But as DNA India points out, VIA isn’t the only company looking to give Intel a run for its money in the cheap ultraportable space. AMD is also starting to produce lower power chips at lower prices. And a number of companies are looking to bring out smartbooks with ARM-based processors over the coming year.