Intel Relaxes Netbook Restrictions

Paul Lilly

A netbook loses most of its appeal when prices soar near or above that of a traditional notebook, and to prevent that from happening, Intel put certain restrictions in place for any manufacturers hoping to score a discounted Atom platform. One of the biggest rules netbook makers had to follow was the 10.1-inch form factor, or at least they used to. According to reports, Intel is rethinking things going forward.

With tablets taking over as the trendy option for mobile users in need of a glorified web surfing device, Fudzilla says Intel has put in place a new set of rules for Atom-based netbooks. With the introduction of Cedar Trail-M in the fourth quarter of 2011, netbook makers will officially be able to use displays anywhere from 7 inches to 12.1 inches. Netbooks will no longer be limited to 2GB, so be prepared to see new models shipping with 4GB of DDR3-1066 standard, at least for those equipped with a dual-core Atom N2800 processor (N2600 still must adhere to 2GB of DDR3-800).

Intel is going to recommend 32GB SSDs or HDDs up to 250GB for its Cedar Trail-M platform. New netbooks will come with either a 4-cell or 6-cell battery, and operating systems will consist of Windows 7 Starter/Home Basic, MeeGo, or Chrome OS.

The biggest addition that will hit upcoming netbooks is the introduction of WiDi , a wireless display that will let users connect their netbook to an HDTV via 802.11n. Using an Atom N2600 or N2800 processor, users will be able to get up to 30fps with dynamic resolution.

Look for these systems to appear in the fourth quarter for between $330 and $400.

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