The unveiling of Via's tiny Mobile ITX motherboard turned heads at last week's Computex exhibition in Taipei. But what the company didn't announce was that prototypes of the board are already running Windows XP.

C.J. Holthaus, a CPU engineer at Via, demonstrated a device using a working Mobile ITX prototype during an interview. The board, which has been functional for about a month, was housed inside a nondescript aluminium case sporting a touchscreen display and Wi-Fi antenna. In a demonstration, Holthaus showed the Mobile ITX system boot Windows XP and play a movie.

The prototype system uses a 1GHz C7-M ULV (ultra low-voltage) processor and a CX700 chipset, but Holthaus said running a 2GHz processor with the board is no problem. The board can hold either 256MB or 512MB of DDR2 memory, but those numbers will rise as memory makers increase the capacity of their chips.

Measuring 7.5cm by 4.5cm, the Mobile ITX motherboard is smaller than a credit card and is designed for use in lightweight, portable devices.

In recent years, Via has led an industry shift towards smaller motherboards, starting with the introduction of the Mini-ITX form factor, which measured 17cm by 17cm. Looking ahead, the company is likely to push these limits further, developing boards smaller than the Mobile ITX.

"In another year or two we will come out with even smaller form factors," Wenchi Chen, Via's CEO, promised last week in a speech at the Via Technology Forum, which was held alongside the Computex exhibition in Taipei.