It's hard to fathom anyone using a netbook as their primary PC. There's only so much you can do with an under-powered ultraportable ill-equipped to run Photoshop, let alone try to attempt any kind of gaming. But as a secondary unit, the pint-sized PCs have proven extremely popular. Is there potential for netbooks to be even more?
Nvidia this week reiterated interest in the mini-laptop market, however hesitant the company might be. Taking a wait-and-see approach, Marv Burkett, the company's chief financial officer, said "we're not saying we're not interested; it's a matter of how the market will evolve." Ironically enough, Nvidia jumping on board might be just the evolutionary step the netbook market needs.
As it stands, Intel's single-core Atom processor dominates the landscape, as does the company's lackluster integrated graphics. It's no stretch to think that should Nvidia dive in, graphics chores would get an immediate boost. But it's also worth remembering that Nvidia and VIA appear to be close, with reports earlier this year indicating Nvidia would supply graphics chipsets for VIA's Nano processor. Not only has Nano more than held its own along side Intel's Atom in benchmark runs, but VIA's already working on a dual-core variant for use in both netbooks and nettops. Intel also has a dual-core version of its Atom, but it's only for nettops.
In short, a collaboration between Nvidia and VIA could result a netbook with an efficient dual-core chip and maybe halfway decent graphics. That trumps any netbook available today, and could help justify spending upwards of $400-$500 some models have started to command .
Image Credit: Nvidia