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Borders Between Netbooks and Notebooks Set to Blur

The emergence of accelerated processing units with built-in high performance graphics and a number of other premium features will also diminish the difference between netbooks and notebooks.

At present technical specifications of Atom-based netbooks are somewhat artificially limited by Intel so that to ensure that they do not compete against more advanced notebooks with slightly more expensive Celeron or Pentium chips inside. For example, there are no Atom-based netbooks with 12" or larger screens albeit netbooks with 7" displays are already virtually dead. AMD promises not to create any artificial limitations for its computers powered by Ontario or Zacate processors. Therefore, they will power both 10" ultra-portables and 14" office-class machines.

"Ontario and Zacate will deliver great experiences and raise the bar at prices points occupied by function limited netbooks and low-end notebooks today. Llano will deliver even more performance and better experiences beyond Zacate and Ontario-based products. AMD will not create any artificial barriers for our customers and encourages them to innovate with our Fusion APUs," said Godfrey Cheng, director of client technology unit at AMD.

In fact, Ontario and Zacate APUs will fit between Intel Atom and Intel Celeron/Pentium in terms of performance. Thanks to advanced features like DirectX 11-class graphics, GPGPU, high-definition video support and other they will indeed develop even better experience than Celeron-based systems do. As a result, it is logical to expect low-cost PCs with Atom, Celeron or Pentium inside to obtain special accelerators for HD video, high-resolution displays and other bells and whistles so to stay competitive and up-to-date.

All-in-all, the only difference between netbooks and notebooks in 2011 will be performance, not the amount of features or functionality. Of course, we will not see netbooks with high-end security capabilities, Blu-ray disc players and other expensive things, but the inexpensive mainstream systems will be very similar.

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