First Atom-powered UMPC due from Sharp, Willcom

Sharp and Willcom are preparing to unleash the first ultra-mobile PC based on Intel’s new Centrino Atom platform in Japan, according to Gizmodo. The gadget site says the Sharp-branded machine is dubbed D4 WS016SH, and that it looks like a cross between the VIA-based OQO Model 02 UMPC and HTC’s Tilt Windows Mobile cell phone.

Gizmodo’s report includes several photos (borrowed from a hands-on report by Akihabara News), and it mentions a 5″ 1024 x 600 touch-screen display, 1.3GHz Atom processor, 1GB of memory, 40GB hard drive, two-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity. The D4 WS016SH will be aimed at Willcom’s Personal Handy-phone System (PHS) network, and it will reportedly ship with a separate Bluetooth handset for making calls. On the software front, the system will come with a copy of Microsoft’s Windows Vista Home Premium.

If the lack of PHS networks in the United States wasn’t already a big enough deterrent to those hoping to import the device, Gizmodo says the D4 WS016SH will launch at a very pricy $1,280. Also, Akihabara News mentions that the system’s performance is “unimpressive,” presumably due to Vista’s hardware demands and the UMPC’s somewhat spartan specifications.

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