Taiwanese PC makers tell HKEPC that Intel is loosening some of its hardware restrictions for netbooks running low cost Windows XP licenses. According to the report, Intel had insisted that Atom N270 and N280 powered netbooks stick with 10 inch or smaller displays with 1024 x 600 pixel or lower resolutions. Of course, there have been a few exceptions, like the business/education-focused HP Mini 2140. But for the most part, companies that have offered higher resolution displays have opted for the Intel Atom Z5xx series of processors.
Now that Intel is giving PC makers the go-ahead to use higher resolution 10 inch screens, we could start seeing more netbooks with 1366 x 768 pixel screens. The HP Mini 110 is already available with a higher resolution display option, and the recently announced Sony Vaio Mini W will come standard with a 1366 x 768 pixel screen.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether there’s a huge demand for high resolution 10 inch screens. While a 720p display makes a lot of sense on a 12 inch or larger notebook, there are two problems with HD screens on smaller netbooks. First, the screen could be so sharp that the text will be hard to read without modifying your system fonts. And second, while the Intel Atom N270/N280 processor has enough oomph to stream most 720p video files stored on your desktop, it will struggle to output Flash video in full screen at higher resolutions than 1024 x 600. In other words, get ready for choppy performance from Hulu and other Flash video sites.