Intel says dual-core Atom netbook coming

Intel shows off dual-core netbook

Intel on Tuesday showed off a netbook with a dual-core Atom processor as it talked up efforts to crank up the performance of the low-cost laptops.

The dual-core netbook shown on stage at the company's investor meeting in Santa Clara, California, was thinner than a thumb. The company also showed off a tablet computing device based on a new Atom chip during the event, which was also webcast.

New netbooks and tablets based on Intel chips will be on display at Computex, which will be held between June 1 and June 5 in Taipei, said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the PC client group at Intel, during a speech.

Intel wants to raise the bar in netbook performance with the dual-core Atom processors, Eden said. The chip performance will enable users to run multiple applications at the same time.

Netbooks have been criticized for underperformance and poor graphics capabilities, partly due to the limited processing power of Atom chips. Most netbooks today come with single-core Atom processors.

"People are not willing to compromise anymore," Eden said. "We do not think about one thing, we think about several things at a time. We expect our computer to do the same thing."

Intel hopes to expand the appeal of netbooks with Atom's improved performance. Intel initially perceived netbooks as low-cost laptops that met basic computing needs like surfing the Web or running basic productivity applications.

"We are going to come with new form factors," Eden said. "We are going to continue to deliver things that eventually will translate affordability to desirability. This is the challenge we have in front of us in the coming two years and I believe we will be able to meet this challenge."

Intel CEO Paul Otellini said at a speech during the investor meeting that the netbook market was on the rise, with many buyers in developing countries using it as a primary computing device.

Intel offers single-core netbook chips including the Atom N450, which runs at 1.66GHz, and the Atom N470, which runs at 1.83GHz. New Atom chips with DDR3 memory controllers could be introduced as early as next month, which could also contribute to speeding up performance on netbooks.

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