Chinese white box netbook makers are reportedly starting to build mini-laptops equipped with VIA and AMD processors as an alternative to the Intel Atom-powered netbooks that have flooded the market over the last year or so.
DigiTimes reports that shift is partly due to increased demand for these processors, and partly because the VIA chips can cost as little as half the price of an Intel Atom processor. Intel also limits the screen sizes on netbooks using the Atom processor, while AMD and VIA have no such restrictions.
As such, these Chinese PC makers are reportedly stretching the definition of a netbook by building machines that have screens even larger than 12 inches. Of course, at that point, it’s anyone’s guess what makes these things qualify as “netbooks.” I’d call them laptops with slow processors.
It’s also worth pointing out that these low power processors may have enough oomph to handle 720p and lower quality video playback on 1024 x 600 pixel or lower resolution screens, but they generally do a pretty poor job of powering the higher resolution displays that usually go hand in hand with larger screens. So while I’m encouraged to see Intel getting a little bit of competition in the low end laptop space, I’m not entirely convinced that the move toward “netbooks” with larger screens is a good thing.