Pine Trail may usher in $249 netbooks

With consumer ultraportables now wading into netbook waters with $400 price tags, netbook vendors may need to dig a little deeper to keep their little Atom-powered systems attractive. And, going by a Fudzilla report, that may happen with the arrival of Intel's Pine Trail platform in January.

Fudzilla writes that Intel will suggest pricing of $249-299 (down from $299 today) for netbooks based on the upcoming Atom N450 processor, which will run at 1.66GHz and feature an on-die graphics core and memory controller. Those systems should have display sizes ranging from 7" to 10.2", 512MB to 1GB of RAM, either a 120GB hard drive or 16-20GB of solid-state storage, and a four-cell battery.

As one might expect, Intel will reportedly encourage netbook makers to use its specially crafted Moblin Linux distribution, as well. Fudzilla says netbook vendors will also be able to chuck in Windows 7 Starter, though.

Right now, the cheapest netbooks on Newegg are a 10.1" Acer Aspire One and a 10.1" MSI Wind, which both sell for $289.99 before shipping. Both systems also carry a gig of RAM, 160GB of mechanical storage, and Windows XP Home.

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