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Via launches teensy motherboard

The Taiwanese company believes its 4.8-inch-square Epia N-Series Nano-ITX has an edge over Intel's competing XScale processors.

Via Technologies has begun selling a new supersmall motherboard that's just 4.8 inches square and comes with an x86 chip compatible with Intel's Pentium processor.

Via's Epia N-Series Nano-ITX is based on the Eden-N processor running at speeds of up to 1GHz, the Taiwanese company announced Friday at the CeBit computer show in Hannover, Germany.

Via showed the Nano-ITX at the Computex trade show in Taiwan in 2003, saying it was geared for embedded computing applications rather than standard PCs.

Intel aims its XScale processors--competing chips that are not compatible with Pentium--at embedded computing tasks such as handheld computers, but Via believes the software compatibility of x86 chips will give them an edge.

Via also announced that a retailer called has signed on as a customer. The retailer will begin selling in the second quarter of 2004 a digital entertainment device called Nanode that uses the tiny motherboard, said.

The Nanode has video and audio outputs, USB (Universal Serial Bus) connectors, and ports for Ethernet and a keyboard.

The Nanode was designed by Hoojum Design, a United Kingdom-based firm.