Netbooks have not been able to do too much in terms of cannibalizing notebook sales, and we have Intel to partially thank for this. Intel has imposed a limitation on netbook screen sizes, i.e. netbooks that are powered by processors in the Atom N series have been restricted to screen sizes no larger than 10.2″. This may change soon, as Intel may lift this restriction in the latter half of 2010, particularly with devices that are powered by the dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor.
Surprised? I’m not. Netbook sales have started to level off recently, so Intel is looking for a way to keep netbooks interesting. Some consumers believe that netbooks are too small to be efficient, so by enlarging the overall size of netbooks, sales in this area of the market would potentially be much greater.
In addition, ARM-based smartbooks with screen sizes larger than 10.2″ will be coming in the near future. Intel wants to keep ahead of its competition, so it’s loosening the restrictions on which netbook sizes their processors can support.
Of course, increasing the size of a netbook would further blur the line between such a device and a notebook, leaving us with one question… when is a netbook no longer a netbook, but instead an ultraportable or a notebook? Check out one of our previous articles for some details.