How fitting. Yesterday, we heard that Intel had been talking down the advantages of netbooks once again. Today, DigiTimes writes that the chipmaker plans to stop shipping Z-series Atom processors to netbook manufacturers.
According to DigiTimes, most netbook makers will stop getting Z-series Atoms "before the end of 2009," although Acer, Asus, and MSI will still see existing orders fulfilled. With this move, Intel supposedly hopes to "clearly define the boundary between solutions targeting netbooks and those for MIDs."
The vast majority of netbooks out today use N-series Atoms, which have higher power consumption than Z-series models and typically ride shotgun with an old 945 chipset. By contrast, Intel aims Z-series Atoms at smaller mobile Internet devices, and it couples those chips with a newer (and lower-power) US15W chipset.
So far, Z-series Atoms have been noticeably popular in netbooks with display sizes greater than 10", like Acer's Aspire One 751, Asus' Eee PC 1101HA, and Dell's Mini 12. (One notable exception: Lenovo's IdeaPad S12.) Perhaps hardware makers outfit bigger-screened netbooks with lower-power Atoms to save battery life, or maybe they do so to skirt Windows XP licensing restrictions somehow. Either way, Intel's move may well contribute to keeping netbook screen sizes down, which should prevent the systems from eating into sales of full-sized laptops with more expensive processors.