Despite a recurring belief in the press that netbooks are dead, the lilliputian, low-power laptops are still selling in volume. Intel certainly isn't giving up on the category. Today, the chipmaker announced its next-generation "Cedar Trail" Atom processor for netbooks, which promises even lower power consumption than current models, along with the ability to play 1080p video.
The dual core chips, which will be sold under the model names Atom N2600 and Atom N2800, will be the first netbook processors to use Intel's 32nm process, allowing for 20 percent lower power consumption, along with thinner and lighter system designs. The chip maker says a netbook with either of these chips should be able to last up to 10 hours on a charge.
In addition to the longer battery life and ability to play 1080p video, the new Atom processors will come with a chipset that enables a number of new features, many of which were previously found on higher-end notebooks. Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi) technology allows users to stream photos or videos directly from your notebook to a TV. Smart Connect technology allows your notebook to maintain a wireless connection while asleep so you have Internet the moment you wake the computer up. Rapid Start enables the netbook to resume very quickly from standby mode.
In a press release, Intel also said that a number of popular netbook companies plan to release netbooks based on the new Atom processors in early 2012. These OEMs include Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba. Dell, which recently announced it was exiting the netbook market, is not on that list
We expect to see some Cedar Trail netbooks as soon as CES 2012 so stay tuned.