New Atom Breeds New Netbooks

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Intel’s recently announced update to its range of low-power Atom processors has precipitated a raft of new netbook announcements.

The update from Intel, so far known under its codename, Pinetrail, aims to bring its Atom line up to speed, so to speak, and offer some more energy efficiency and higher-end graphics than the older range. This has drawn enough attention that Cnet is reporting even those a little shy of the netbook market until now have decided that it’s about time to get in on the action, with Gateway and Toshiba among those making the shift.

The Toshiba and Gateway netbooks both boast the same arrangement as most modern netbooks, including a 160GB hard drive, a 10.1-inch display, 1GB of RAM and boast the advantage of an Intel GMA 3150 Express graphics setup. For now, we don’t know an awful lot about the Intel GMA 3150, but given Intel’s recent renewed interest in gaming for its mobile processors, we’ll be curious to see just what kind of horsepower the GMA 3150 express manages to put out.

We’ll be curious to see just if, and when, the new netbooks come to Europe and when they do, how much they’ll cost. Still, if the two are competitively priced they’ll likely sit neatly into an increasingly crowded netbook market.

Of course, the big question will be just how well the netbook market survives the coming year, with industry analysts hinting last week that the age of the netbook could be coming to a close as more and more netbook users start to look for machines with a little more power. If they want to keep a similar level of portability, they’ll be moving on to so-called “ultra-thins.”

Still, if you ask us, we’d say that the humble netbook is here to stay for 2010.

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