Published in Notebooks
Intel wants cheaper ultra-thins
Netbooks sub-$350, ultra-thins starting at $450
We talked about Intel's suggested netbook pricing and design restrictions on several occasions in the past months, so you probably know what we're on about. Screen sizes up to 10.2 inches, sub-$400 price, and thanks to Redmond, 1GB of memory and 160GB of storage.
However, Intel is now focusing on thin and light notebooks, and it's recommending a sub-$350 price for netbooks, which it describes as "companion" devices that offer a basic media experience and are intended for occasional use. In layman's terms, toys.
The new thin and lights are supposed to get more attention, and Intel is suggesting they be sold in the $450 to $1100+ price range, with screen sizes over 10 inches. At the moment the cheapest CULV models will set you back anywhere from $550 to well over $700, depending on the region. Intel describes these products as primary PCs, says they offer a rich multitasking and internet experience, whatever that means, and says they should be under and inch thick. So it's not badmouthing them like netbooks.
However, recent reports indicate cheap ultra-thins aren't selling that great. Consumers could be waiting for Win 7, or they simply expect more performance from a primary device. Intel is expected to address performance concerns with new, affordable ULV dual-cores. Next year it will focus on adding more dual-cores to its CULV lineup, and we're expecting 32nm parts at some point as well. Core 2 Solo CPUs might become a thing of the past, as single and dual-core Celerons take their place in the low end.
So, Intel is obviously trying to push both netbook and ultra-thin prices down, but it really doesn't need to rush the process one bit. AMD is nowhere near with its Neo platform, and we can only hope new AMD 45nm platforms materialize soon. In the netbook market, Intel stands unopposed, more than a year after launching the Atom. VIA's Nano has few design wins, and AMD has no product to offer. The only mobile segment Intel won't dominate is the ARM-based smartbook market, but these devices have more in common with smartphones than notebooks anyway.