Last week we heard that HP could be preparing a new version of the HP Mini-Note laptop with a 10 inch display and an Intel Atom processor. The current generation has an 8.9 inch screen and packs the sluggish VIA C7-M CPU. But now DigiTimes (the same source of last week’s rumor) reports that HP has placed orders for for VIA Nano chips.
The Nano is VIA’s upgraded version of the C7-M. It’s reportedly much faster, but still consumes less energy than traditional processors. And perhaps most significantly, it’s interchangeable with the C7, which means HP and other companies currently using the C7 chip won’t need to manufacture new motherboards or other parts to use the new CPU.
In other words, HP could start shipping Mini-Note computers with VIA Nano chips pretty much as soon as VIA pushes them out the door. No need to design a new computer or retool the assembly line very much at all.
Does this mean HP won’t be releasing a new model with an Intel Atom chip? Not necessarily. The netbok market is continuing to grow, and there’s no reason HP couldn’t offer customers two completely separate devices: a Mini-Note that looks practicaly identical to the current generation, but which uses the new VIA chip, and another one that may look a bit different (10 inch display, new motherboard — or at least a new CPU socket) and have an Atom chip.
Of course, since the Atom and Nano chips are both aimed at the same market, it’s not entirely clear why HP would want to bother placing orders for both. But perhaps the company is just hedging its bets. If one chip winds up becoming far more popular than the other, HP can always kill off the underperforming product line, which may be easier than launching up an entirely new product.
[via Small Laptops]