Samsung just pulled the wrappers off an intriguing little machine: The enigmatically-named Q1EX-71G is actually a mini netbook PC that shuns both the traditional clamshell design and processor family that you’ll find inside nearly every other netbook. That’s because the Q1 is a tablet device, and it’s not powered by an Intel Atom–it uses Via’s Nano CPU instead.
The computer is a diminutive 8.96 x 4.92 x 0.9-inches in size, and still packs in a 7-inch screen. Despite its small size, the screen is a standard 1024 x 600 pixel unit and, of course, it’s a touchscreen. Inside there’s a 1.2GHz Nano CPU, 2GB of memory, Via’s Chrome 9 VX800 integrated graphics, enough battery capacity for 4.5 hour uptime, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 and a 60GB 1.8-inch hard drive with SD-card expansion. It’ll run Windows XP Tablet edition, and presumably Windows 7–though the integrated graphics may be a problem for all of 7’s fancy-ass graphic UI elements–and at a pound and a half it’s almost more pocketable than Sony’s supposedly pocket-friendly Vaio P netbook-class machine.
It’ll cost a relatively premium $775 when it launches, that puts it at the high end of the netbook PC market (and let’s not call it an “ultra mobile PC,” it’s a tablet netbook, with much of the same internal guts as the Samsung NC20 that is definitely in the netbook class.)
And the simple, clean design and relatively high price of the Q1 raises an interesting thought. Simple, elegant design at the medium to high end of a computer class is typically the domain of Apple. So the Q1 is almost what we could expect from an Apple netbook/tablet PC, though Apple’s certainly got more touchscreen/multi-touch expertise than what we’ve seen in Windows XP. We could certainly hope that if the rumors of an Apple tablet/netbook (and I’m prepared to guess it’ll be more tablet than netbook, given the design success of the all-touchscreen iPhone) are true, then it’ll turn out something like the Q1EX-71G, with some OS X and Apple design goodness. And a better name.