Intel Might Lift Screen Size Restrictions For Next Atom

We know now that the dual-core Atom is finally going to make its way to netbooks. The dual-core Atom chips that we have now are basically targeted at the desktop/nettop area. Even though we have a few portable models sporting them, they are not known for battery life efficiency. So now, Intel [NASDAQ:INTC] is going to release a new dual-core Atom that will bump up the processing speed of our beloved netbooks and still keep them running for a sizeable amount of time.

But this joyous news was tainted some time back, when reports of Intel maintaining its restrictions over the netbook screen sizes surfaced. If it were to happen, manufacturers would not be able to use the new dual-core Atom chip in netbooks that had a screen size of more than 10 inches. But that claim was always conflicted because there were already talks of the Asus Eee PC 1215N getting this upgrade and that model has a 12 inch screen.

Now, another claim is surfacing that states Intel will be pulling this restriction upon release of the said chip. This would finally enable manufacturers to make dual-core Atom netbooks that have screens sizes like 11 and 12 inches. We are of course not expecting to see 15 inch screens on Atom devices but 12 inch options are always nice to have.

It seems like as Intel continues to innovate on the Atom front, it is beginning to lift some of the restrictions that have held manufacturers from getting more creative with their offerings. Intel’s restrictions have actually kept the netbook market in a sort of forced conformity that made a lot of the mainstream netbooks look very similar. Some are only distinguishable by their branding and built quality because the internals are the same.

However, those things are about to change it seems and the predictions of the netbook really taking over this year might come true after all.

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Google Planning To Add Multitouch To Chrome OS [?]

chrome_os_logo2-thumb-550x308-20421There has always been speculations about Chrome OS coming on tablets in multitouch versions and by now it is the logical thing for Google to do if they want to stay relevant. The rumor about a Google tablet was floated along with the claim that HTC will be making it. Now it seems like Google does have something in the development. Why else would a senior official get nervous when asked about multitouch in Chrome OS and fumble while giving an evasive answer.

During an event at Google HQ, Senior Product Manager of Search, Anders Sandholm, was asked this question directly and in reply he said – “I can’t… I mean… right now we are targeting netbooks, that’s what we’re focused on, but I expect it to work well… we expect it to target everything up to desktop computers. Chrome OS will be built for a specific hardware setup.” He couldn’t dropped a broader hint that something was indeed up in that area.

After all, it is clear that Google has to go up against the iPad like all other manufacturers who want to sell companion computing devices. And these companion devices are increasingly taking the shape of flat, touchscreen enabled slate devices. So to compete, Google has to step in against the Apple iPad sooner or later. In the mean time, they are focussed on coming to netbooks as fast as possible.

The Chrome OS is all set to be a unique approach to computing whereby everything is relegated to the cloud and all you need is a the Chrome OS device and the Internet. But while Google makes the Internet a great place to work and live by, Apple’s offering is right now the most polished and personal way to interact with that same Internet. So this should be an interesting fight to watch.

Google Netbook Specs Leaked

chromebookGoogle is making a special netbook (or two) for its Chrome OS’ hardware debut later this year (hopefully) and that is not a very good secret. But the actual hardware specs for this netbook have so far been out of reach for most of us. Yes, we do know that Google really wants only the fastest possible hardware and hence has done away with slow old HDD’s in favor of the fast and new SSD’s. But beyond that, questions like what powers the entire device were far from being answered.

Now however, it seems like they we have a leak that predicts what Google has been up to with the hardware. News resource IBTimes reports that there has indeed been a leak of the Google netbook and they are saying that the rumored device will be powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra chip.

Those unfamiliar with Tegra just need to know that Tegra is NVIDIA’s System on a Chip that is meant to rival Intel’s Atom. It is capable of running full HD content and such things on a miniscule amounts of power that is only marginally higher than Atom, thus bettering Atom on quite a few counts. However, it has failed to gain much traction in the market.

Until now it seems. If Google is really interested in Tegra, NVIDIA is surely celebrating with champagne right now. However, the report also says that Google is going to use ARM CPU, so everything won’t be supplied by NVIDIA. So overall, Google knows what it wants and it is speed without sucking on power.

Other features will apparently include 64GB SSD, 2GB RAM, HD ready 10.1” TFT multitouch display. In fact, this could easily be turned into the Google tablet that is being rumored. After all, these are all components used on mobile devices like the Zune HD. The schedule for Chrome OS device is around Q4 2010.