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Here are the features of the next generation of netbooks

The worst hysteria surrounding netbook computers seems to have subsided and some predict that Apple’s launch of the iPad is the beginning to the end of the computer type. However, Intel has continued plans, extending at least into 2011, when the company plans to launch its next netbook platform. The platform goes by the code name Cedar-Trail M and it offers a number of long-awaited features.

One of the new features is that Cedar-Trail M is ready for several different operating systems. Not entirely unexpectedly, you’ll be able to run the Starter and Home Basic variants of Microsoft’s Windows 7 on PCs based on the platform, but you’ll also be able to choose other operating systems. An interesting challenger in the field will of course be Google’s upcoming Chrome OS, which is intended for this type of device. Intel has, together with Nokia, also cooked up its own alternative in the form of the open source operating system Meego Linux, which is based on Intel’s Mobin and Nokia’s Maemo. However, the question is whether Meego Linux has any chance when the giants Microsoft and Google are in the game.

Another finesse you can expect is that the computers will be equipped with hdmi interfaces as standard and handle full-hd video up to 1080p. Of course you can get hdmi already, but it will be with complementary solutions such as Nvidia’s Ion graphics circuit or Broadcom’s Crystal HD Video Accelerator and a juicy price premium.

Connects wirelessly to the TV
But you won’t actually even need to physically connect the netbooks to the TV or screen, thanks to Intel’s Wireless Display technology (widi), which, as the name suggests, offers wireless video transmission over short distances. Initially the technology will be limited to resolutions up to 720p but the subsequent generation of the technology will be able to handle up to 1080p. But then, of course, it is required that you have a monitor or television that also has this wireless interface, either built-in or in the form of a receiver box that is connected to the television or screen.

The first Cedar-Trail M processors are expected to be manufactured using 32-nanometer technology, which makes it possible to manufacture single-core systems that do not develop more than five watts of heat, which in turn allows them to do without a fan, with better battery life and quieter running as a result. With a dual-core Cedar-Trail M processor under the skin, heat development is expected to increase to 8.5 watts, which may make a fan necessary. It will of course be even quieter if the computers are equipped with flash disks instead of conventional hard drives, but the question is whether the flash disks have become cheap enough to fit into the picture when it is time for the Cedar-Trail M to make its entrance.

These features can perhaps breathe new life into the currently declining netbook market.

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