Intel Corp is famous for its thermally efficient Atom processor especially in the netbook market. And in order to eliminate the possibility of cannibalization into notebook segment utilizing its other processor and chipset families, the giant chipmaker has set the boundary of maximum panel resolution capped at 10.1-inch since day one. And good news now, if the rumor is true, it may have plan to remove such restriction in conjunction with the release of dual-core N550 Atom processor by Q3 this year.
The move could be due to few reasons. First, with more and more powerful Intel Atom processor (or its companion chipset) that could handle 1080p full HD (High Definition), it requires larger screen that can showcase its capability without limited by 10.1-inch resolution that stays merely at 1024 x 768 pixels. And even before N550 availability, Pine Trail and Broadcom CrystalHD combo is believed to be able to scale up the display panel size and resolutions, unlike its first generation Z5xx (codenamed Silverthorne) or N270 (codenamed Navy Pier) that being blamed for their inferior graphics and video decode performance. Secondly, its strong opponent, ARM based architecture are believed to have next generation smartbook that could potentially feature with relatively larger (more than 10.1-inch diagonal size) and so there is a need to prepare itself to stay competitively in this market space.
However, this doesn’t address the cannibalization of notebook sales and perhaps the giant chipmaker will come out with other differentiation factor to try avoiding such scenario either with different price point, form factor or others that could differentiate well from notebook category.