Intel is expected to launch its next generation Atom processors later this year. The netbook version, the Atom N450, will consume less power than today’s chips while offering a little bit of a speed boost. But according to DigiTimes, some PC makers say they “will not take an aggressive role” in luanching netbooks based on the next-gen processor.
Digitimes chalks this up to cooling demand for netbooks during the first half of 2009. But I’d be kind of shocked if demand for any consumer product wasn’t lower in the first and second quarters than the fourth. There’s this little thing called the holiday season that tends to spark sales.
But I think there may be another reason why netbook makers aren’t clamoring to build machines using the latest and greatest parts: Netbooks are selling pretty well with today’s parts. And if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Traditionally, PC vendors have pumped out machine after machine with faster processors, larger hard drives, higher resolution displays, and so on.
But netbooks have never been about specs, they’ve been about price. And quite frankly, that also means most netbooks carry lower profit margins than higher end computers. So I can see why virtually every computer company, (which as of today even includes Sony), feels the need to have a netbook. But I don’t necessarily see a netbook arms-race to include the latest components in every machine. Well, not unless ARM-based systems become hits with consumers and really start taking off. But then it’d be an ARMs race, not an arms… yeah, nevermind.