Intel Sets Out Netbook and Nettop Plans

£100 desktops and £200 notebooks a reality.

While news of the Eee PC’s upcoming inclusion of Silverthorne hardware has hinted at Intel’s intent to dominate the growing sub-notebook market, it wasn’t until the last day of this IDF that the chip manufacturing giant chose to officially reveal its plans for this brand new segment of the computing market.

The official word, then, is that what we’ve been referring to as sub-notebooks for the last few months – e.g. the Eee PC and MSi Wind – will, according to Intel, now be referred to as Netbooks.

As Intel sees it, this new class of devices will typically be of a notebook form factor but with screens smaller than 10inches, no optical drive, and processing power capable merely of, as Intel puts it, content consumption, rather than content creation. Essentially this means on these devices you’ll be able to do tasks like view standard definition video (there won’t be enough power to process HD video), browse the web, use email, listen to music, edit the odd photo, and use office productivity software. Or, in other words, do most everything you’d want when on the move. However, if you want a device powerful enough to edit video, watch HD video, edit multiple high-resolution images at once, and be capable of multi-tasking, then you’ll still want to stick with a standard circa £600+ notebook.

Of course, this is far from a revelation on its own as we’ve been aware of this type of device ever since the Eee PC launched. However the interesting bit is what price Intel projects this new range of Atom powered netbooks will sell for. The incredibly low production costs of the Atom means new netbooks have the potential to be even cheaper than the current low-cost champion, the Eee PC. In fact, $250 – $300 is the ball park figure Intel estimates, which should translate to around £175 to £200 – a good £60 cheaper than the entry level 7inch Eee PC.

The Eee PC itself will of course be included in this slew of new cheaper devices, indeed there was even an Atom sporting 7inch model on display at IDF, so the netbook is less a direct threat to the Eee PC as it is a recognition of the latter’s brilliance. As they say, ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’

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