The netbook market may be slowing down, but Intel’s absolutely not giving up on the netbooks. The company recently announced the new Cedar Trail platform, which is the next generation Atom processor that’s clearly targeting the netbook and the low cost mini laptop segment.
So what can we expect from Cedar Trail? First, performance will improve slightly, like every other Atom launch before it. Power consumption will be a key factor here. With the new Cedar Trail platform, netbook’s battery life is expected to further improved compared to the current generation netbook. Intel is promising battery life in the 10 hours plus bracket and “weeks” of standby time.
Another improvement of Cedar Trail netbook is that it will run cooler with a “50 percent lower thermal design point”, according to Intel. This enable manufacturers to design a fanless netbook that’s thinner, lighter, and run quieter.
Also, Intel says that the Cedar Trail platform is capable of triple booting, which means it can run Windows, MeeGo, and Chrome OS on the same system; and let you pick the OS that you want to run when the system is booting up.
Intel’s Smart Connect technology is another special feature that can be found on the Cedar Trail platform. With this technology, any running application will be able to update itself, even when the netbook is asleep. For example, if you have a Cedar Trail netbook that’s put into standby mode with Twitter and Facebook running in the background, Smart Connect technology will wake your system up periodically to check for Facebook and Twitter updates before putting it back to sleep again. The benefit for this is that the resume time will be much faster when you wake your netbook up since everything have already been updated.
Graphical performance has been a major limitation for Intel Atom platform. That’s why the AMD Fusion platform is getting a lot of attention recently for being much more capable than Intel in this area. In the new Cedar Trail platform, Intel promised smooth 1080p HD video playback and HDMI support, which isn’t possible currently on the Pine Trail platform without the help of third party GPU.
And finally, there’s the Wireless Display (or WiDi) technology that mirrors whatever is on the netbook to an HDTV, wirelessly. The beauty of WiDi is that the technology is built into the Wi-Fi chip, so there’s no dongle hanging off the USB port. A separate Netgear receiver is required in order to take advantage of WiDi, though.
What about price? The recently announced ASUS Eee PC 1025C and 1025CE suggest that a Cedar Trail netbook will cost no more than $279. With all the attention that the tablet PC is getting recently, such low price will definitely help to draw some attention back to the netbook.