Analysts at DigiTimes suggest that HPâ€™s emphasis on the entry-level notebook market will help reinforce Intelâ€™s profit gains with budget-minded consumers in the market for netbooks and ultraportable notebooks that utilize its Atom processors. In the competitive landscape between OEM vendors, HP, Acer, Asustek and Samsung are the four big players expected to place huge emphasis on this market. However, with very little room for hardware differentiation available to manufacturers with the Intel Atom platform, we remain convinced that the major product differences to expect this fall will merely be related to physical form factor, aesthetics, color options and classic brand-name favoritism.
As we mentioned two weeks ago, Acer is preparing to launch its first dual-core Atom netbook, the Aspire One D255, based on Intelâ€™s Atom N550 1.50GHz. This processor utilizes 1MB total L2 cache (2 x 512KB per core) opposed to 512KB on single-core Atoms, supports 64-bit instructions and has an Intel GMA 3150 200MHz integrated graphics core just like the single-core Atom N475 1.83GHz. We suspect HP will launch a similar dual-core Atom netbook in due time, possibly before Q4 begins, but this remains to be confirmed.
In the upcoming third quarter of 2010, Intel expects netbook platforms based on its single-core Atom N455 and N475 processors to feature 512MB to 1GB of DDR3 memory and 20GB to 32GB SSDs or 160GB to 250GB hard drives with 10.2-inch models priced around $249 to $349. In addition, it expects OEM netbooks based on its dual-core Atom N550 to feature 1GB of DDR3 memory with the same storage options with pricing around $349 to $399. It has also suggested that its dual-core netbooks are allowed a screen size variance between 7 inches and 10.2 inches. That being said, we look forward to discovering the screen sizes that HP will incorporate in its upcoming Q3 2010 netbook and ultraportable lineups based on these Atom processors.