updated 02:25 pm EST, Fri November 25, 2011
Cedar Trail Atoms said moved to January
Netbooks may have seen one of their chances at keeping competition afloat after a possible scoop on Thursday had Intel once more delaying its next Atom processors. An original November ship target for the future Cedar Trail platform was now understood by VR-Zone to have been moved back to the end of December. With companies reportedly not allowed to ship until mid-January, likely in sync with the CES expo, they would be forced to miss the holidays.
The hurdle is believed to step around graphics hardware. Intel has supposedly had to shed both 64-bit OS and DirectX 10 support, and even now is having problems getting the WHQL certification needed to get full support.
A delay would come just as several netbooks using Cedar Trail-based Atoms have shown in the pipeline. Along with the Eee PC 1025C line, ASUS is also now waiting to launch the 1011CX, 1015CX, and X101CH, which Notebook Italian expects to all be speed upgrades to existing designs. Samsung is also expected to have two last netbooks, the N102S and NC110.
The delays haven't been confirmed, although with roughly five weeks left in 2011, it's doubtful most companies would try to ship if they couldn't do so immediately.
Missing 2011 entirely with the new models may help accelerate netbooks' decline. Their growth started reversing roughly in sync with the launch of the iPad in spring 2010 and has kept up to where iPads outsell netbooks. Some of the advantages netbooks once had, such as theoretical performance and software features, have been eroding as ARM processors have outpaced the Atom and mobile platforms like Android and iOS get more sophisticated.
Samsung is rumored to already have seen an end to netbooks altogether and to be quitting netbooks in 2012, although possibly only after any CES introductions.