Intel is on the record with size limits for Netbooks. Will this restriction be tied to lower Windows 7 pricing from Microsoft? Yes, say reports.
A recent ZDNet blog reported that the maximum allowable diagonal screen size for a Windows 7-based Netbook will be 10.2 inches. And on Tuesday, reports cited Taiwan's hardware manufacturers--so-called original design manufacturers, or ODMs--stating that Microsoft may tie screen-size limits to Windows 7 pricing.
The upshot: Netbooks that exceed 10.2 inches will not qualify for the lower Windows 7 licensing rates (e.g., Windows 7 Starter and Home Basic for Small Notebook PCs), according to reports.
Intel is already on the record defining an Atom processor-powered Netbook as having a screen size no larger than 10.2 inches.
Other maximum Windows 7-based Netbook limits in the lower-price tier include a 250GB hard disk drive or a 64GB solid-state drive, according to Tech ARP.
Processors will max out at 2GHz and have a CPU thermal design power (power envelope) that is less than or equal to 15 watts, not including the graphics and chipset, according to the same report.
There is no ostensible limit on graphics horsepower, however. On Monday, Lenovo announced the first Netbook from a top-tier PC maker that includes Nvidia's Ion chipset. If other PC makers follow with Ion-based Netbooks running Windows 7, this is expected to boost the device's ability to handle more demanding content such as 1080p high-definition video.
But challenges may arise later this year for Nvidia when Intel brings out the "Pineview" Atom chip that integrates the graphics onto the same piece of silicon as the main processor.
All of this comes in the wake of rumors that Microsoft may lift the restriction that the operating system run no more than three applications at a time.