Apr 15 2009

CULV Laptops And The End Of The Netbook Industry (Yeah, Right)

Analysts have anticipated the demise of the netbook industry ever since they entered the scene a year or two back, but so far netbooks just aren’t dead yet. They look safe for the time being as more and more big time and small time manufacturers deliver their own models, but another threat may yet be on the horizon: CULV laptops.

While the exact nature of CULV laptops is a bit unclear, Intel spokesmen have pointed to the HP Pavillion dv2 as a member of this new category. They are different than netbooks because they use mainstream Intel chip designs (CULV chips) like the Intel Core and similar architectures rather than the Atom, a weaker and cheaper processor.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini says that Intel is interested in the new category and “looks forward to the launch of our consumer ultra-low-voltage products, which will enable many new sleek thin-and-light notebooks at very compelling price points.” He projects a swift explosion in the new netbook-like devices in the near future:

“The big trend in notebooks this year, starting mid-year, is likely to be very well designed thin-and-light notebooks using the CULV or ultra-low-voltage products… And I think you’ll see those at very attractive price points. Up to this point in time, those machines have been sort of executive jewelry and I think they’ll hit mainstream consumer price points.”

While Otellini is “expecting a more clear distinguishing set of characteristics between Netbooks and notebooks,” I’m personally unconvinced. Will CULV devices lead to the end of netbooks, or are they a sign that the category’s omniscience has grown all the more? It won’t take much work for netbook manufacturers to switch to bigger chips if that’s what consumer wants, and I bet they’d be happy to do so if it means more profits. Clear distinctions between sub-notebook devices may be getting more and more unfocused every day, but it looks like they’re here to stay regardless.

Via CNet.

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