With tablets having firmly cemented their place in the mobile PC consumer market, the budget-minded mini-laptop craze of Netbooks has truly fallen by the wayside. Even Dell has said that they will be axing their Netbook line in the new year with their competitor Samsung also potentially set to exit the market. Evidently major manufacturers are failing to generate the kinds of revenue from these intrepid little devices to warrant further investment. Nevertheless a niche market still remains for consumers who want a cost effective computer that provides the complete productivity experience of a laptop with a full-size qwerty keyboard separate from the display (unlike a tablet). In 2012 Intel intends to introduce the next generation of Netbooks with a much needed performance shot in the arm.

The Atom N2600 and N2800 Cedar Trail processors are dual-core and feature a 32nm technology, higher CPU frequency, full HD video playback and DDR3-800/1066 memory support. Furthermore, this new platform will offer a significant reduction in power consumption, which will deliver battery life on par with tablets, at 10 hours. Intel are boasting a doubling of GPU performance with the older GMA 3150 from the legacy Pine Trail platform now replaced with the PowerVR SGX 545. Although there is still some skepticism about the ongoing viability of the dated Atom architecture, Intel may have done enough in laying the foundations for Netbook manufacturers to develop compelling systems. Time will tell of course. Roll on the 2012 launch.

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