VIA Technologies, Inc., maker of innovative and power-efficient processor platforms, announced today that they have released an open source laptop design to the public. Formally known as the VIA OpenBook Mini-Note Reference Design, VIA is responding to global demand for ultra-portable notebook computers. The VIA OpenBook is based on the VIA C7-M ULV processor and the new all-in-one VIA VX800 digital media chipset.

The design weighs in at 1kg (2.2lbs.) and features a large 8.9" screen, WiMAX (or HSDPA, EV-DO/W-CDMA) for wireless connectivity, video resolutions up to 1024x600, high performance VIA Chrome9 DirectX 9.0 3D graphics, advanced video acceleration for MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9, VC1, and DiVX video formats. It also has a VMR capable HD video processor and 8-channel HD audio.

The notebook features a wide range of options for hard drives, solid state drives, and will accept up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM. Up to 3 hours of battery life is provided by its 2600mA lithium-ion 4-cell battery. It ambitiously supports Windows Vista, XP, and several major Linux distributions including OpenSuSE, gOS, and Ubuntu.

The CAD files for the OpenBook are available at the VIA OpenBook website. The design is released under the Creative Commons ShareAlike Attribution 3.0. By releasing the design files and specifications, VIA hopes to promote innovative design and broader acceptance of its ultra-portable computing platform.

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Another company releasing a failed product as "open source" in the hope it will get them some positive press which might generate some more sales and so recover at least a bit of the cost of creating that failed product.