Anyone still holding off a netbook purchase waiting for the Goldilocks system, to coin a phrase, to come along might want to hold off a little longer. We all knew Intel is going to update its Atom line-up at some point, but thanks to DigiTimes' digging at notebook manufacturers, we know that when is a slightly more specific sometime in Q2 or Q3 this year.
Expectedly the Atom N280, as the current N270s successor is to be called, brings improvements with it, both to the CPU itself and, arguably more importantly, the platform in which it resides. Most obvious among the changes is the move from a 533MHz to a 667MHz front-side bus and, as a result, a slight change from a 1.6GHZ to a 1.66GHz clock speed.
Of more significance is the move from the currently used 945GSE chipset to one called the GN40. Intel doesn't seem to be sharing information about this new chipset yet and DigiTimes apparently haven't
Pricing is a bit increased for the N280 at $60-65 (~£41-45) versus $46 (~£32) for the N270. Per CPU, in 1,000 unit trays as ever, of course. If the GN40 chipset can bring the much needed improvements over its archaic predecessor, though, that premium will almost certainly be worthwhile.
Acer, Asus and Gigabyte are apparently signed up to dish out N280 and GN40-fitted netbooks already, so it's just a matter of time, now.