Intel announced on Monday the first dual-core Atom processor targeted specifically at Netbooks, finally putting the same number of processing cores inside these tiny laptops as found on larger mainstream laptops.
Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and LG all announced new dual-core Netbooks Monday. Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, MSI, Samsung, and Toshiba, among others, are planning similar announcements in the coming weeks and months, according to Intel.
This is a big step for the Netbook market. Since their inception back in spring 2008, Netbooks have been powered by single-core processors. This allowed Netbook suppliers to design 10-inch-class laptops that were relatively power efficient and inexpensive, typically costing about $350.
The widely reported downside has been lackluster performance, since all processing must be funneled through one core. The Atom performance gap with mainstream Core 2 Duo and Core i laptop processors is also due to design differences. (Mainstream laptop processors have a different architecture, delivering higher-level performance.) But the fact that the Atom for Netbooks has always been single core has exacerbated the performance gap.
Intel has other reasons for moving to dual core. Low-power dual-core processors from rival Advanced Micro Devices are already appearing in Netbook-class laptops. The Hewlett-Packard Pavilion dm1z, an 11.6-inch Netbook, uses an AMD Turion II Neo dual-core K625 processor (1.5GHz) and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4225 graphics processor, offering potentially stiff competition for single-core Atom Netbooks.
The new dual-core Intel N550 Atom runs at 1.5GHz and supports DDR3 memory, another performance benefit.
Despite the expected crush of updated models, the Netbook now has a new nemesis: the iPad. "The death of the Netbook has been greatly exaggerated," said Bob O'Donnell, an analyst at IDC, referring to the rise of the Apple iPad and its impact on Netbook sales. Though O'Donnell doesn't discount the iPad effect, Netbooks are principally for consumers who want to use Windows on a small device--virtually impossible on an iPad--and they're less expensive than an iPad, to boot. … Read more
Several launches are planned for fall and winter 2010, but the iPad, on track to sell 16 million units, according to some, will be the iPod of tablets by then. If anything, iPad 2G will have been announced and everyone will be queuing up for the version with the camera … Read more
There are many intriguing new laptops, tablets, and related mobile computing devices currently on display at the Computex 2010 trade show in Taiwan. Keep in mind, however, that many of these are either proof-of-concept prototypes or products unlikely to ever see the light of day in the U.S.
With that caveat, here are a some notable show highlights (a few of which have the word "pad" as part of their names), gleaned from the coverage of our colleagues at CNET Asia.
Introducing Intel Core i3 and i5 processors in a laptop is hardly surprising news anymore, but affordable notebook computing--well, that's another story. MSI tends to be on the bleeding edge of the cheap notebook spectrum, and the company's recent announcement of updated Classic laptops offers a few eye-openers. The entire line of C-Series 15.6-inch Core i3 and i5 laptops starts at $649, and there's even a config that includes Blu-ray and a Core i3 for $699; MSI claims the CR620-033US is $729, but Newegg does that price $30 better.
All MSI CR-620 models include Windows 7 … Read more