Sources: Viliv Closing Shop

Posted on 19 July 2011 by



If this is true, I won’t be surprised because there’s been a trail of hints over the last few months that have already led me to put warnings out about Viliv.

According to not one, but two of our business contacts, Viliv is just about ready to shut up shop. Our sources tell us that Viliv have been in receivership for a while and despite trying to find a buyer for some of their unique ultra-mobile computing solutions, have failed to secure a future for them. It looks like its the end of the road for Viliv and we’re just waiting for formal, public confirmation.

The clues started back at the end of March when one of our contacts at Viliv announced they were leaving. A short time afterwards, Viliv abruptly called  stop to their long-term banner advertising with us. No amount of discounting could win them back. Considering their positive feedback in the past, it was a surprise. Then, at the important Computex trade show in June, Viliv were a no-show. Since then we’re seeing summer holiday announcements on their myviliv website and have also heard that their US support number has been closed. We’ve also been unable to get any contact with Viliv for comment or update on their products.

Interestingly there’s one large reseller in the UK that has just started to take pre-orders on the new Viliv X70 Slate .  Let’s see if any action is taken to close that channel over the next weeks. Given the information we have, we don’t expect those pre-orders to be fulfilled.

As for support and sales of stock, we susupect it will be spotty from now on. At this stage, it would be prudent to buy from a reputable dealer but do bear in mind that parts, accessories and return-to-base repairs may be difficult.

Viliv were a pioneer and a true believer in the pro-mobile space. Their products were always class-leading in terms of quality and features. To us this sends an important message out to everyone. Developing and selling pro-sumer mobile products is a tough business. Buying them is almost as hard but as always, we’ll keep you updated on solutions as they appear. Fingers-crossed that someone else picks up the X70 Slate design as it could have been a unique Windows 8, Meego and Android tablet.

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24 Comments For This Post

  1. John says:

    This is really sad. Sure, I was interested in the X70 Slate, but that is not as important as those who jobs are directly affected…

  2. timon says:

    Viliv’s unlucky news, again.

  3. alex says:

    That is very unfortunate. I guess my N5 will be my last UMPC. When it dies, I’ll be buying notebooks since all available devices require bags.

    rohil Reply:

    Ya, my N5 will be my last UMPC too. It’ll be the last device I’ll have that has an Atom based chipset too. If I’m going to have to buy something that needs a bag anyway, it’s going to have a non-crippled CPU.

    Gearsguy Reply:

    Agreed, N5 is my first and last UMPC I guess.

    simon Reply:

    Me too. I was so late into the UMPC party. I’m sure the lack of marketing had a good amount to do with it (at least compared with the crappy tablets that so many people are excited about).

    I have a 4.3 inch Android phone running Gingerbread and it’s nothing compared to my N5. While the N5 has its shortcomings, mobile OS based devices have significantly more.

    I guess it’s back to buying notebooks.

    Chippy Reply:

    I still think we’ll see some interesting Oaktrail devices as we get toward Windows 8. Meego and Android builds on these will offer best of both worlds and I think together, it offer a unique and important proposition to manufacturers.

    JeCh Reply:

    I think the biggest problems were the lack of marketing and support. I have an S5 and it’s great device. But here come the drawbacks:

    1) Almost non-working GMA500 drivers. OpenGL performance is terrible.
    2) On W7 some things don’t work (internal speaker is not muted with TV-OUT, after sleep BT is always off etc.)
    3) W7 tablet PC touchscreen driver is not working perfectly
    4) Almost no optimized SW, except of the music player I programmed myself ;-)

    And nobody cares about the problems. Viliv hasn’t released any SW or driver updates for more then a year.

    But the worst problem is the the S5 is definitely underpowered for W7 (and because of M$ you can’t have HW accelerated Flash on XP). The S5 would be just perfect if there was an official Linux support (MeeGo and Android).

    So the conclusion – Viliv products are perfect piece of HW with almost non-existent SW support. That’s what killed Viliv….

    rayner Reply:

    I wish I bought the 64 GB model when it was available to replace my BZ. Even if Viliv wasn’t going out of business, based on their CES showing, they were leaving the pocket computing space anyway.

    Hopefully another company will build 5 inch UMPCs. Maybe Samsung since they seem to have their hands in a lot of device categories. Otherwise, I’m with you. I may buy the Thinkpad X220. It has a 12.5 inch display and a non-CULV CPU.

    xilia Reply:

    I’ve been hoping for another company to enter the 5 inch UMPC market since Viliv already left that market based on what they showed at CES.

    It looks like this is the end for us pocket computing users. I’ll just be buying 11 inch ultraportables from now on. As it’s already been said, Atom and ARM chips just don’t cut it on devices larger than 5 inches.

  4. Gearsguy says:

    Very sad, I really liked Viliv. I thought they were be fine for at least a few more years especially since they had gotten an ad in a popular US pc magazine I believe, which was quite a large feat. I honestly think the worst thing is the lack of warranty and support for their products now. Dont know what I’m going to do about my semi-broken N5 :\

  5. Tmarks11 says:

    RIP.

    Viliv managed to take microsoft’s half-baked idea, and produce aquaity product that was years ahead of it’s time. It is unfortunate that the were unable to make the leap into the new era of mobile os.

    Difficult for a small shop to compete with the large firms. At least they managed to keep it up longerthe OQO, Raon Digital, and the oters tha fell by the wayside.

    Hate to say it, Chippy, but I think it marks the end of the umpc era.

  6. Leiy says:

    Eking just announced another “”X70 slate”” yestoday. Use Intel Oak Trail processor, Running Windows 7 and Meego.

    http://www.ekingumpc.com/News_View.aspx?N_NewsID=218

    JeCh Reply:

    I want it! If it only was a little smaller (6″ screen is perfect IMO).

    MeeGo on a Viliv is all I want.

  7. Claudia says:

    That is such a shame. The build quality of their products was exceptional. I adore my S5, and still use it on a daily basis.

  8. Alan says:

    Very unfortunate if true. This is my fault. Why? The kiss of death from Raon Digital Everun to OQO 02 to Viliv. Seems every time I buy a UMPC it’s just a matter of time before the company fades away. Just got 2 S7s on ebay for cheap cheap. Love my S5. 3G, 128GB SSD, W7. Perfect. Carry it everywhere. Solid as a rock. Sad sad sad.

    a-non-e-mouse Reply:

    Don’t knock yourself too hard, I also have hardware from various companies which were edgy for their time but folded too soon.

    *%&#!!! My S5 was the closest to my ideal pocket PC I ever got! Flexibility+functionality+usability+affordability, the first glimmer of hope starting 3 years ago with the first Asus netbook. Even now, my S5 usage rivals my main home machine (meaning substantial amounts of time nearly every day), which would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago. I was hoping against all reason that they would still come out with an updated 5″ unit. ARGH!!!

  9. Heinthemer says:

    the reason all the small UMPC vendors died is 2-fold, x86 & Windows. I’m not sure you can ever say the category died since it was never really even born.

    the mobile future is bright, brighter in fact than it ever was in the past. with a more robust Android on the way, W8 (ARM), & the ARM platform itself.

    for some of you it’s time to step into reality, thin/light/always-on/fanless productivity is finally about too happen. no fans, no thickness, no worthless stand-by, no poor battery life, good riddance.

  10. duboti says:

    I was really hoping for an updated N5 (more current hardware and fix the complaints most users have with the current design). Very unfortunate.

    I wouldn’t be as disappointed if there were actually alternatives. AS of now and for a while it seems, Android and all the mobile OS just have way too much limitations to be a real alternative to a pocketable Windows PC. All the mobile OS’s have a very long ways to go.

    The reality is Android and all the ARM based OS just can’t compare to a desktop OS. They’re like running Windows in Safe Mode. You can’t do much.

  11. Paone says:

    I agree. With the slow progress of Android providing the same functionality and versatility of Windows, it’s not even in the running for me unless I’m just buying a phone. At least that’s how Android is going to be in next few years.

    With this unfortunate news, I truly hope Microsoft can successfully pull off Windows 8 on ARM. By that, I mean provide the same features and software compatibility as its x86 counterpart by providing devs an easy way to compile for both architectures (ie. the .NET Framework). Maybe then there’ll be a resurgence of 5 inch UMPCs.

    Paone Reply:

    That was a reply to duboti, sorry.

    tilo73 Reply:

    I agree. I have a Motorola Xoom. It’s great navigating basic sites but once you start accessing sites with complex Javascript, form input and/or Flash content, it either fails or is very cumbersome. A significantly cheaper netbook with its desktop browser, mouse and keyboard fairs a lot better for those situations.

    The high price and limited capability of the Xoom ended up being a very bad buy for me. I’m using my cheaper 11 inch ultraportable more. That was an expensive lesson learned. Maybe Android will get better in the future but it’s touch only mentality is going to hold it back.

    rick Reply:

    Too bad the cheap Android tablets are just that, cheap. I had an Archos Gen 8 tablet and I found out why it was cheap: constant crashes and severe app incompatibility. I’m sure it’s the same for other cheaply made tablets.

    I’m back to using my $300 netbook that doesn’t crash and as you’ve, can handle he most complex websites fine.

    JeCh Reply:

    It’s not the OS, which is wrong. It’s the HW which simply doesn’t have enough power.

    Every netbook is much more powerful then any tablet.

  12. D T says:

    The only reason I tolerated Windows based tablets (UMPC and MID included) is for the choices for applications and nothing else. To compare how easy it is to use iOS or Android (or other newer tablet platforms) on a multi-touch capacitive touch screen with swipe gestures, is nothing like using a resistive screen with single touch, and sometimes poor digitizer registration causing holding mouse drag mode and other modes (right mouse click emulation) a complete failure. There is not even a comparison.

    So it becomes like a dilemma: do you tolerate it and thus have the choice of apps? or do you not tolerate it and use the easiest and most comfortable platform but have less apps and features or I/O to deal with? It’s hard to have both in the real world.

    For many, it’s tiring to concentrate and target your mouse pointer to click, drag, double click etc, on a 5″ device, because it’s the same Windows that you are so used to on the desktop. Not the easiest to use when you don’t have a mouse and have a very small screen w/ low res.

    I think it’s a very niche but yet very cool idea to have the smallest Windows computer on your palms. From Libretto to UMPC to MID, this has been a quest for perfection, but hardware can’t really do everything if the software remains similar over the years.

    I think Windows 8 might change the picture, but it’ll be sometime to wait out this gap. In the mean time, these manufacturers will die from starvation.

    Claudia Reply:

    Further to your point, I use my S5 for work sometimes so an Android tablet is just not going to cut it. I need Windows, and Viliv offered the best UMPCs with a 5″ form factor.

  13. jay says:

    viliv filed a bankruptcy procedure at a Korean court on March 17, 2011 and has closed down its MID/UMPC/Tablet device devision afterwards.
    They are literarily out of this business now.

    Claudia Reply:

    Whew, I had to send my Viliv in for repairs earlier this year — looks like I got it fixed just under the wire!

  14. Corrupted Mind says:

    Apologies for the length of this comment.

    Sad times. It just shows how tough it is to compete with the big boys – I knew the writing was on the wall when I saw a £400 ipad, £199 Archos 7 and the now £150 Dell Streak 5 (now joined by similarly competitively priced devices from RIM and HP). The N5/S5 is comfortably more expensive than all of the above.

    Funnily enough the comments about the Intel Atom make me laugh. Many ppl seem to have forgotten that the ARM series of chips literally walked in the Atoms footsteps. Had Netbooks not have been so phenomenally successful in the first few years – Intel – might have accelerated its roadmap towards Oaktrail and beyond. Success breeds complacency, and it was impossible to predict the huge explosion in Android devices and the runaway success of the iPad would completely annihilate Netbooks and the Atom.

    @Heinthemer I have to disagree. How can you blame x86 and Windows? Where else could Viliv have gone when they produced the models they did? Android was immature and iOS wasn’t an option. They couldn’t build their own OS so it was XP and Win 7 or bust (some may mention Linux but that in this market equals bust). Some will argue they should have pivoted quicker onto Android but as has been pointed out by other commentators – there was no mature apps for pro-sumers to use. Moreover after Windows XP tablet edition who could have predicted that MS were bringing a knife (Win 7) to a gunfight (iOS and Android). So in effect, they were stuck.

    @DT Your UX point is good but you write as if we’ve reach a panacea in mobile UX. How many ppl would try to write anything longer than 500 words on a iOS or Android device? How many ppl would view, furthermore edit a spreadsheet? How about editing video or pictures? Too many ppl have leapt on the post PC bandwagon and touch as opposed to mouse input but haven’t really tried to do “serious” computing mouse and keyboard free. While this problem remains, there will still be a queue of people looking for that serious palmtop.

  15. Alan says:

    @Heinthemer Viliv S5: no fan noise, instant out of standby, minimum of 6 hours on battery with WiFi on, .75″ thick. Jus’ sayin’

    Great build quality. Same for the S7. Fantastic screen, battery runs forever. Raon, OQO, and now Viliv were cutting edge, but to an audience that was too small for them to survive, crushed by the mighty iPad.

    Chippy Reply:

    What really annoys me is that they were working towards some interesting Android products too. They had made the right business decisions but were too late. Would love to see accounts and sales figures to learn from this!

    Alan Reply:

    There are a few of their newer models up on ebay with this description. I suppose they must have started producing these, but probably never sold them outside of Korea. I’m not sure that this would have saved them in a very crowded Android market.

    DESCRIPTION

    The Viliv HD5 will come touting a 5 inch WVGA ‘glare’ LCD display, SRS WOW HD sound driver, SDHC
    memory card slot, HDMI out and internal storage options of either 8, 16 or 32GB. Additionally, the HD5 will
    come with a battery that was noted as being able to offer up to 47 hours of audio playback, 13 hours of
    video playback and 450 hours on standby. And for those that care what is running underneath, the Viliv HD5
    will have Windows CE 6.0 with a custom skin on top. Finally, in terms of size, the Viliv HD5 will measure in at
    0.50 inches thick with a weight of 8.1 ounces (about a half a pound). Other features will include a dictionary,
    voice recorder, ebook reader and FM radio. Viliv HD5 is a MID packing a 5-inch touchscreen with a WVGA (800×480)
    resolution. Equipped with an HDMI output, it has supports high-def 1080p videos and even includes a DMB/DAB tuner!
    The difference in the two Viliv HD5 version is ‘prime version’ is non-glare LCD which better to see outside while the ‘clear
    LCD version’ is better to see inside

    Viliv HD5 Celar Standard
    Specification
    Display 5″ TFT LCD (glare)
    Resolution 800 X 480
    Battery 47 hours of audio playback
    13 hours of video playback
    450 hours of standby
    Storage 16GB NAND Flash/exFAT32, SD, SDHC SLOT
    FM Radio FM 76Mhhz ~ 108 Mhz
    HDMI C Type Connector
    Audio 95dB, 25mW
    Connector HDMI, USB, DC Jack (2.5mm)
    Dimensions 130 (W) X 83 (H) X 12.9 (T) mm
    Weight 229 grams
    Supported Video Format AVI, MKV, WMV, MPG, MP4, ASF, TP, TS, MOV
    Supported Audio Format MP3, AAC, AAC+, OGG, WMA, PCM/ADPCM, FLAC, APE
    Equalizer Normal, Classic, Pop, Rock, Jazz
    Mode SRS HD WOW
    Supported Photo Format JPEG, BMP, PNG, DIF
    Photo Effects Rotation, Zoom in/out, Slide Show
    E-Book Bookmark, Autoscroll, Font Setting
    Voice Recorder Format WAV

    Claudia Reply:

    That sounds sweet, except for the OS. Windows CE isn’t going to cut it, I need Windows XP or 7.

    The price on eBay is $500, which is quite steep especially now that we all know the company won’t be around to provide warranty support.

    Denthyne Reply:

    Do u have any info to share with us on magic w3 ???

  16. Alan says:

    I would stay away from that one. There’s others that are much sweeter. N5, S5 are true UMPC size. My wife and I both have an S7. I find my S5 to be the perfect size for carry everywhere-everyday-all-the-time use. It’s very fast and as I said before the battery lasts all day plus some.

    I do wonder if the new HD5 and P3 models were actually put into production.

  17. CrusherATX says:

    Fear not , fear not – found new umpc ( they call it UMVC ???? )
    Looks better and have more features ( based on spec )
    Heard that it will be shipping in early 2012 .
    If it does ship , I will be first one to get my hands on it… also heard it is selling for USD1300 ??? I got my Viliv S5 XP was at USD1150 .. but based on specs , I think I will try it ( it mention that it also can do telephony ( Skype ?? but it mention GSM calls ??? ) Runs Win 7 Home Premium – bundle in the cost and has … a Webcam … From what I heard , it is smaller and lighter , means battery life shorter ??? Mentioned is 2.5 hrs and you can have a external battery that can extend to 3X , designed so that you dont have to carry the weight … hope to see it soon …

  18. CrusherATX says:

    It’s called Magix W3 …

  19. Ken says:

    It’s called Magic W3
    And it’s made by a company called AdvanceTC
    their website does not mention any pricing or shipping details but their spec does look impressive enough ( HDMI , lighter , telephony included . Win 7 Home Premium licence bundle in , full accesories included and have a webcam ( 1.3MP ) compared to S5 which does not have all these .
    They should consider the price around USD1150 as per S5 and then it will be a Hit , since they do have a better spec all round and interesting features and may help them to have the staying power .
    I hope that they will see the requests from all the UMPC users and meet the request . BTW , here is their website http://www.advancetc.com
    Have sent several mails but could not get their sales to commit a date and price for the W3 . I hope it will ship soon .

    Corrupted Mind Reply:

    Saw the website . Don’t think it is real . Tried a few search . Think it’s just a concept .

  20. Denthyne says:

    Hi , anyone has more information on this magic w3 ?thanks for sharing

  21. ravellar says:

    The death of Viliv means the death of tech. the viliv n5 is the best device the I have ever owned, and i have owned them all, oqo, umid , konjinsha, sony u series, most pocket pc, iphone, android useless tablets, apple useless tablets. Th eViliv N5 out performs, looks better, and it runs all my software including autoCAD, full MS word. I have no idea why you all have not mentioned the N5. For the life of me , I will never understand why websites that focuses on pocket devices and ultra mobile, spend so much time covering awkward non- pocketable tablets.

    Chippy Reply:

    You’ll probably find more about the n5 on this website than on any other in the world!

  22. Reader says:

    Arrgh, cartft.com has deleted its Viliv-products from the shop. That was the only great reseller of Viliv in Germany :-(

    Chippy Reply:

    And another indication that Viliv have reached the end of their road.

  23. Reader says:

    I fear there won’t be many other manufacturers offering real UMPCs in the future. Many devices are vaporware and if they get ever released, you can’t tell if the company gets bankrupt anytime soon. Thus I wouldn’t buy a Ocosmos OCS1…

    Maybe ARM and Windows 8 bring a UMPC revival. But until then everyone uses Android or iOS anyway ;-) Argh I’ve seen so many businesmen using iOS (iPad) and everytime I was asking myself how they can work productively with that utterly multimedia- and fun-based operating system. I couldn’t write a standard E-Mail using iOS.

    a-non-e-mouse Reply:

    If Windows 8/ARM is going to bring a UMPC revival it will be quite a hard road. What is one of Windows’ biggest advantages to UMPC users? Its legacy of software and hardware! Win XP, and to a somewhat lesser extent, Win7, has years of software and hardware development behind them, from small to very complex, not just the little apps in a “sandbox” that iOS and Android provide. With Windows 8/ARM and maybe even Windows 8/Intel, MS is essentially throwing all that away, because the 3rd party companies have to rewrite their software to play in MS’s “sandbox” (.Net?), or they have to port their software and drivers to a new processor and hope it works exactly as intended (ha ha). IMO, Win 8/ARM could be looking at another year or 2 after it’s release before we get to see even some of the breadth of the current software and hardware. By that time, MS had better have something seriously game-changing at that point (not something MS has been in the habit of doing) or they’re going to be even farther behind the curve than they are now.

  24. c.morait says:

    I bought my vivil 8 moths ago and I can not work with out it (it is always as a field computer in my service bag).

    Its a pity that viliv closed. The problem is that all UMPCs are targeted to more tech oriented people that they are a small market.

    You can have a quick look at phones that are using IOS or Android they are loved by non computing oriented people.

    I believe that soon another manufacturer will make a Nice UMPC for all of us and I hope to be HP or other large brand that will have the funding to develop such a platform for their bussiness customers.

    I give my best wishes to Viliv to be bought from a large firm or get funding for developing great mobile devices like My N5!