It’s no secret that Intel is on track to launch its next generation Intel Atom processors later this year. What’s a bit less clear is exactly when we’ll start to see these chips show up in netbooks and other products. Because word on the street is that while the new chips will be more energy efficient, they won’t be much faster, and they could cost more than today’s Atom chips. And that could be enough to give PC makers pause. If the performance isn’t noticeably different, why use the newer chips if all they’ll do is drive up the cost of netbooks and make your products less competitive?

Still, someone has to be first, right? And today DigiTimes is quoting mysterious “industry sources” that claim MSI will be the first company to launch a netbook using the upcoming Intel Atom Pine Trail-M platform.

The MSI machine will most likely also run Windows 7 and include a touch screen, which implies that it would run Windows 7 Home Premium rather than Windows 7 Starter, which won’t be quite as touch-friendly as the pricier versions of the operating system.

I’d take the DigiTimes article with a grain of salt though, since it suggests that Intel is pushing back the launch of Pine Trail until January, and that MSI is simply jumping the gun here. But last I’d heard, Intel was denying any delays, and promising to deliver Pine Trail in October.

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