updated 02:20 pm EST, Wed December 3, 2008
NVIDIA on Netbooks
NVIDIA is taking a cautious approach on netbooks and is unlikely to involve itself in that field anytime soon, company officials have said at the Credit Suisse technology conference. Company CFO Marv Burkett acknowledges that it could ultimately produce graphics chips and other hardware for the mini notebooks but is waiting for netbooks to "evolve" before taking any initial steps into the field, which was effectively born with the launch of the Eee PC 700 line late in 2007 and is just now gaining traction.
Executives at the event haven't specifically said how the company would get involved but makes it clear that graphics would likely be the main reason for expansion into netbooks. Most current netbooks use an Atom processor and the accompanying Intel integrated graphics, the combination of which is often too slow to decode HD video or play modern games. Integrating a faster graphics core would restore this as an option, according to NVIDIA investor relations VP Michael Hara.
Notebook builders such as ASUS have already experimented with including conventional dedicated graphics as a stopgap measure, such as the GeForce 9300M GS in the N10.
The statements shelve any public near-term plans for particularly advanced netbooks and may quash current hopes for an Apple netbook. The company is relying heavily on NVIDIA's GeForce 9400M all-in-one chipset to provide much faster integrated graphics for its MacBooks and has promised to work with NVIDIA in the future, but without a netbook option would be forced to use other solutions or else keep to larger portables.