Intel has started shipping its third-generation Atom chips for low-power mobile computers such as netbooks. The company says products with Cedar Trail chips will debut in early 2012, with some of the first devices coming from Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba.
Prices for new netbooks are expected to start at $199, with higher-end systems offering advanced features such as touchscreen displays.
The new processors wonít offer a huge performance boost over previous Atom chips. But they will support 1080p HD video playback and use about 20 percent less power. Intel says netbooks with Cedar Trail chips will offer up to 10 hours of battery life.
The new chips also support Intelís Wireless Display technology and new features to sped up resume from sleep and connect to the internet more quickly.
Intel isnít actually using the phrase ďCedar TrailĒ to describe these chips anymore. Thatís the code name that was used duringt he development process. Instead we now have real product names for the 32m chips, including:
ē Atom N2600 1.86 GHz dual core chip w/400MHz graphics, 3.5W TDP
ē Atom N2800 1.6 GHz dual core chip w/640MHz graphics, 6.5W TDP
ē Atom D2500 1.8 GHz dual core chip w/400MHz graphics, 10W TDP
ē Atom D2700 2.1 GHz dual core chip w/640MHz graphics, 10W TDP
The D-series chips are generally aimed at desktop-style computers rather than mobile devices.
In a pretty clear sign that the netbook space isnít as hot as it once was, Intelís press release points out that these chips arenít just for min0laptops. They can also be used in digital signage, healtchare equipment, retail systems and other low power devices.
But Intel also points out that while demand for netbooks in the US and Western Europe is declining, itís on the rise in other parts of the world.
I suspect weíll see a number of netbooks and other devices with Cedar Trail chips at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, 2012.