We recently heard that Intel could launch its next-gen Pine Trail netbook platform on January 3. Not true, according to DigiTimes, which reports that Asus, Acer, Lenovo, and MSI all plan to release Pine Trail netbooks on January 11.
The systems will all feature Atom N450 processors, which put the CPU core, integrated graphics, and memory controller on one die, with accompanying Pineview I/O hub chips. The move to a two-chip solution with all performance-critical components on a single, 45-nm die should help improve performance and battery life, and it might reduce production costs a little, as well.
DigiTimes says Pine Trail netbooks will ship with three operating system choices: Windows 7 Starter, Intel's Linux-based Moblin OS, and Windows XP. Windows 7 will likely be the most popular, the site adds, but it will also be the most expensive. Then again, DigiTimes expects Microsoft to be flexible on the pricing front—wouldn't want netbook makers getting too strong an urge to jump ship to Chrome OS later next year.
In the meantime, the report notes that Asus, Lenovo, and MSI have all dropped the prices of their 10" netbooks in Taiwan to "clear inventories" in preparation for Pine Trail's debut. Those systems now go for as little as $10,000 TWD, or $311. Prices are even lower in the States: Newegg currently sells a 10" Lenovo IdeaPad netbook with 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and Windows XP for just $289.99 shipped.