Intel has released recently its new Atom N450-based mobile platform, which includes a new micro-architecture designed for use in the upcoming netbooks.
Unlike the previous generation of Atom N270 / N280-powered netbooks, the new mini-laptops will provide a longer battery life, and reductions in cost and overall footprint.
Here's how. The current netbooks, and most of them are based on Intel's technology, have a separate main processor, a separate graphics chip, and separate controller chips managing RAM, hard drive, USB ports and other. On the other side, the new platform packs the processor, the graphics chip, and the memory controller on a single piece of silicon. Therefore, the new netbooks are able to provide lower price tags, a reduced power consumption to provide an estimated 20% battery life improvement, and possibly smaller netbook cases since the motherboard is smaller for around 60 percent.
Another difference is operating system. The new netbooks will mostly ship with Windows 7 OS, whereas the older ones run Windows XP.
Other features of the next-generation netbooks are basically the same as in those released one or two years ago. Their screens will be small (up to 10.2-inches) and will be sold with up to 1GB of RAM, and up to 250GB of hard drive capacity. Consumers can also expect 3-, 6-, and rarely 9-cell batteries, webcams, around three USB ports, VGA outputs, HDMI outputs and HD video capability in select models, memory card readers and others.
The new Atom N450 netbooks are scheduled for launch starting January 2010.