Giga-byte, Chunghwa to launch Linux M528 MID in August

Giga-byte and Chunghwa will launch the M528 MID in Taiwan this August.

Taiwanese electronics maker Giga-byte Technology has teamed up with mobile phone service provider Chunghwa Telecom to launch the M528 mobile Internet device in August, a Giga-byte representative said.

The M528 is a small, handheld device with a 4.8-inch touchscreen that runs a Linux OS and uses an 800MHz Intel Centrino Atom microprocessor as its calculating engine. It's part of a new breed of handheld devices the PC industry hopes will catch on as a way for people to surf the Web from just about anywhere. What makes it different from a mobile phone is its larger screen. The biggest mobile phone screens, even when the entire face is used, still top out at around three inches.

The M528 will be packaged with 3G (third-generation telephony) service from Chunghwa Telecom when it launches in Taiwan, for HSDPA/HSUPA (High Speed Downlink/Uplink Packet Access) Web surfing. The device can also access the Web via Wi-Fi 802.11b/g.

The Giga-byte representative said the price of the handheld hasn't yet been determined since it will be bundled with a 3G contract. The hardware may be priced lower to entice users to sign up for Chunghwa's service.

The M528 weighs just 340 grams and is 152 millimeters by 80mm by 22.5mm. It has a Qwerty keypad with a backlight that slides out from underneath so people can use their thumbs to type messages or Web addresses.

The handheld is built for multimedia. It comes with a 4G byte SSD (solid state drive) to store music, photos and other data, an earphone, and a 3-megapixel auto-focus camera on one side, with a 300k Web cam on the front for video chat.

The device can transfer files wirelessly via Bluetooth 2.0 and it also has USB and other ports, as well as a micro-SD card slot.

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