Intel Reconsiders Atom Chip Strategy

Paul Lilly

It's been a wild ride in the netbook market, with plenty of highs and not many lows. But things have started to level out and netbooks are no longer flying off of store shelves at the same pace as before. Are underpowered Atom processors to blame ?

According to a study released by IDC, Intel's Atom chips for netbooks accounted for 20 percent of Intel's mobile PC processor shipments during the first quarter of 2010, down from 24 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009. While you want to be careful not to read too much into this, it's a probably a safe bet that faster Atom chips could pick things back up, and that seems to be Intel's strategy.

"The next innovation coming to Atom is on dual-core," Otellini said during a financial earnings call earlier this month.

According to Otellini, more dual-core Atom processors are on track for this quarter, though he didn't come out and say these would specifically be for non-ION netbooks. In the meantime, companies like HP are already advertising new netbooks running one of Intel's upcoming Atom chips, the N455. The N455 adds support for DDR3 memory, which will probably boost some benchmark numbers, but won't have the same impact on netbook computing that a dual-core Atom chip would.

"We believe the potential and growth opportunities for Atom continue to be tremendous. You can expect to hear more about this momentum throughout May, and into Computex," said Suzy Ramirez, an Intel spokesperson, in an e-mail to InfoWorld.

Image Credit: Intel

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