Netbooks aren’t as sexy as they were a few years ago, now that hundreds of tablets have invaded the portable computing space. But chip maker Intel still sees a future for tablets with Intel Atom processors — and the company is reportedly sharing some advice with hardware partners for how to make next-generation netbooks more appealing.


Fudzilla reports that Intel sees room for a wide variety of netbooks, with a variety of screen sizes, operating systems, and other features.

  • Screens could range from 7 to 12.1 inches in size.
  • Netbooks could feature Windows 7, Windows 8, Tizen Linux or even Google Chrome OS.
  • Prices could run between $199 and $399.
  • Some netbooks could have premium features such as Blu-ray 2.0 support, WiDi (wireless display) technology, and fanless designs.
  • We could see some ultrabook-like features including rapid start and “Smart Connect” functionality which lets the computer keep your email, social networks, and other data up to date even when the PC is sleeping.

I tend to take news from Fudzilla with a grain of salt, since the site makes Digitimes reporters look like they’re good at citing their sources. But there’s nothing implausible in this report, so I’m going to consider it lightly salted.

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14 replies on “Rumor: Netbooks with larger screens, fanless designs coming”

  1. There are also tablets with 10″ screens, same as netbooks. Now there are new netbooks that act as tablets too with touchscreen and detachable keyboard. Then you have the ultrabooks with average 12-14″ screens. Then there are notebooks and laptops with very similar specs. All of a sudden smartphone screens are getting bigger and bigger. Some already bigger than 5″ and soon to reach tablet size.

    It really is a fine line between all these devices. Everyone seems to want computing ability in every gadget they have, however large or small which is the reason for this.

  2. Some 4.5″ smartphones now have 1280×800 resolution which is the same as my 15.6″ laptop. There is absolutely no reason for 10.1″ netbook screens to have such pathetic resolution. This makes me think the PC makers have either stopped innovating as far as the netbook segment and in general the portable PC segment goes OR they are plain greedy and are trying to make do with the cheapest quality screens they can find.

  3. I had some thought on the legitimacy of this rumor. There is one reason why this is more likely legit. It’s ARM.

    Don’t think for a moment that Intel wants to start losing out to ARM but in fact you can see it. Windows 8 netbooks with ARM = not great for Intel.

    I’ve written about this elsewhere, but this is all about Intel having to salvage Atom processors. It’s not about them wanting to do it. Too bad for them that Windows 8 will support ARM and ARM might look pretty appetizing (for more than one reason) in a netbook.

    1. Wow that wold suck since the minimum vertical resolution for Win8 is going to be 768 pixels.

    2.  Larger than 10″ screens would usually have higher resolution, it’s just the 10″ range that’s still stuck with that resolution but that should change as the higher resolution screens start getting majority of the market share.

      Basically they’re just using the cheapest screens available but once the higher resolutions screens reach large enough quantities then they’ll be cheap too and thus become a no brainer update to future systems.

      They’re also probably holding off on those screens to save them for the Windows 8 systems to give more reasons for people to have to buy new systems.  Especially since right now they know the netbook market is in a slump and thus saving their resources for when they think they can profit the most.

  4. Why doesn’t anyone release a larger (14-15 inch) notebook with the Atom processor? Seems like it could make a decent, but much cheaper ultrabook.

    1. It would suck.  They are releasing Brazos ultra portables though, which shouldn’t suck as much.

      1.  Intel does have the reference designs of Keeley Lake and Canoe Lake for Ultrabook like form factors for netbooks.  At least one company, Malata, is building systems under those reference designs.

        While there are the occasional random laptop equipped with ATOM instead of regular laptop processor.

        The problem though is they are not always priced accordingly and it really becomes more economical to just get a regular laptop.

        While AMD Fusion can provide better graphics but they’re still in the netbook range for CPU performance.  While a typical Core i-series laptop can easily provide 3x or more performance and only cost about $100 more.

  5. I’m curious if this is a reflection that MS is reducing the licence costs on Windows 8?  I figure something like that has to be going, because in targeting the tablet space they’re targeting a market that can’t easily handle large fees for the OS.  That would have benefits for the net book world in general, since that would mean that they no longer have to play by the reduced screen resolution/ram requirements to meet MS’s discounted OS pricing, and would remove the artificial constraints on the market.

    That said I’m still kind of pissed off that Windows on Arm prevents the user from getting a Desktop.  It kills off the ARM based netbook segment before it could truly begin.  Well for anything more complicated than a Metro app.  The .NET CLR and Silverlight both run on ARM already, so it’s not like providing application support on both ISAs was out of the question…  Enough on that rant.

    Still this is good for consumers, if it’s true.

    Then again it also makes the line between an ultraportable and netbook almost impossibly blurry.

    1. Windows on ARM does offer a desktop… but it won’t run legacy apps unless they’re recompiled for ARM. 

      The other big things it’s lacking are support for apps that aren’t downloaded from the Windows Store and a user-installable version. WoA will come preloaded on devices, but you won’t be able to buy a disc and install it on your own tablet, smartbook, or what have you. 

      As for the blurry line between ultrabook, netbook, and other notebooks… I’m cool with that. They were never really all that different in the first place. The key differentiators included size, price, processor, etc… and you don’t really need a label to know that a computer with an Intel Atom CPU isn’t going to be as fast as one with a Core i5 chip. 

      1. Ah, you’re right.  I blindly trusted something I read on a developer blog instead of reading the MS Build Blog on it.  Mea Culpa.  That does alleviate some of my concerns.  Although, I do still contend that it still seems silly to force WinRT (Metro) apps when CLR/.NET has been running on ARM for 8 years now, which as a code base could be recompiled easily for ARM and allow two or three generations of software available on x86 to be availble on ARM without much effort rather than making everyone port over to WinRT and all the issues that brings…  Sigh.  Seems like they threw Silverlight under the bus as well, which means no super easy Windows Phone 7 ports either.

        I somewhat understand why they’re limiting WoA to OEM versions only since everything has to be signed via the UEFI boot loader to prevent rootkits and the like, and they’re not just going to hand out master certs with every consumer purchased version of windows, or what’s the point?  That said I wish they’d have a non-secure WoA for the rest of us that we COULD load.As to that last bit:  True.  But in a perfect world, a category label should at least give some indication of function for the non-technically literate.  One of the reasons I think so may non-techs like tablets is that’s not something you have to worry about.  You buy it and it works.  There aren’t as many confusing options and base information you need just to make a purchase.  On the iPad side at least.

        1.  Part of the problem of porting apps to ARM is legacy apps aren’t optimized for mobile usage.  Everything from resolution scaling to the UI would have to be re-worked.

          Mind we’re entering a time where screen resolutions will increase throughout from Smart Phones to desktop LCD panels.  Windows 8 Metro itself requires higher resolution than traditional netbooks have supported.

          The other issue for ARM is performance, despite the push to start using them in traditional computing devices it should be remembered that they’ve only recently begun providing enough performance to properly run a desktop OS, or in other words they’re only rivaling Intel ATOM level of CPU performance but they’re still 32bit processors.

          Though some old legacy apps may be fine with that level of performance but the newer and more demanding programs would be at least as hard to run as they are on netbooks but even slower if they had to be run with emulation, which in turn would consume more power and kill run time.

          While another factor of legacy app optimization is those old programs aren’t optimized to minimize power usage. 

          All while Windows 8 will have to compete with existing mobile OS solutions like Android and iOS that are optimized for power efficiency and would thus provide longer run times on ARM systems unless Windows 8 is run at least close to as efficiently.

          Though there are factors like new improved VM technology that will be introduced with Cortex A15 but we may have to wait another generation of systems before ARM systems can be trusted to run more than just optimized software.

          Depending of course whether or not Intel can re-invigorate it’s own ATOM line and reclaim that part of the market by then.

  6. At what point do they stop being netbooks? The lines between the different lines of pc’s seem to be blurring or overlapping?

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