Viliv, the future of Intel handhelds?

A mobile Internet device has picked up some pre-sales buzz as it prepares for a July 6 launch. But will consumers notice? And if so, will price be a deal breaker?

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

A mobile Internet device buoyed by some pre-sales buzz is slated to go on sale July 6. Will consumers notice?

Mobile Internet devices, or MIDs, have been around for a while but never triggered anything near the buying frenzy of Apple's iPhone or the Palm Pre.

Viliv X70 mobile Internet device
Viliv X70 mobile Internet device Dynamism

On July 6, the Viliv X70, based on the Atom Z520 processor, will go on sale in the U.S. from reseller Dynamism. This could prove to be another litmus test for this tweener category of devices.

MIDs look a lot like the iPhone but aren't phones. They're mini PCs. The screens are bigger (a 1024 x 600, 7-inch display in the case of the X70, about twice the size of the iPhone's) and they are designed to offer everything a buyer would expect in a PC: that is, Windows running on Intel processors.

Like PCs, traditionally, MIDs have connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi only.

The Viliv X70 will break the mold by offering the option for 3G (HSPA). Though this won't make it an iPhone, it will give more credence to the "mobile" part of the category name "mobile Internet device."

There will also be an option for a 128GB solid-state drive--something a buyer cannot get on an iPhone or Pre. (X70 video here.)

There's some small print about the 3G worth noting. After the ad copy stating that "you can enjoy broadband Internet anytime on a 3G network," Dynamism points out that "customers in the United States can simply stop into an AT&T store to sign up for service" but that the "T-Mobile network will not support 3G speeds with this device."

Spurious battery life claims are common from all manufacturers. It remains to be seen if the X70 lives up to its claims of 5.5 hours of video playback or 4 hours of live-streaming TV from the Web.

Viliv is manufactured by Korea-based Yukyung Technologies. (See CNET Review's coverage of the current Viliv S5.)

And the price? This may be a deal breaker for some. It starts at $599 for the basics but jumps to $879 with an Atom 1.3GHz Z520 Atom processor, 1GB of memory, a 32GB solid-state drive, GPS, Windows XP Home, and a built-in HSPA modem.