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Thursday, 29 December 2011 16:29

Intel revamps netbook strategy for 2012

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New form factors, touchscreens, fanless designs


Intel used the holiday news lull to announce its next generation Cedar Trail Atom platform and although the netbook market is continuing to contract, Intel believes it is still worth the effort.

Obviously, in 2012 plans to base its efforts on 32nm Cedar Trail chips, which should enable it to revamp somewhat dull notebooks and make them more appealing in light of the tablet craze. The obvious way to go about this is to stick some touchscreens into netbooks and this is exactly what Intel plans to do.

Dubbed Excite, this new product class is set to cost $399+ and Intel claims it will include touch support and new form factors. Basically, Intel is talking about convertible tablets based on Cedar Trail chips. It seems like a sound concept, on one hand we are looking at practical tablets, that also double as x86-based ultraportables, so it could appeal to some business users or anyone who needs x86 compatibility and a proper keyboard.

The $199 to $299 price bracket is reserved for Enhance class products. These are basically next generation netbooks, with sleeker designs and “better system responsiveness” whatever that’s supposed to mean in marketing talk. Intel claims the new N2600 will be aimed at fanless systems, and with a TDP of just 3.5W, the new processor should also enable lighter and thinner designs. No need for bulky battery packs and heatsinks here.

Entry level Cedar Trail systems will make up the Enable series of products. With prices starting at $199, they should offer superb value for money and Intel obviously thinks it can ship quite a few of them to schools and underdeveloped markets.

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