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Intel answers AMD Neo with 'ultrathin' laptop chip

Agent Smith, anyone?

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Intel is reportedly cooking up a mobile processor designed for a new category of mobile platforms that is quite similar to what AMD announced just last week.

From the Consumer Electronics Show, Cnet reports that Chipzilla will release a new Core-architecture processor for laptops that fits somewhere between low-end netbooks and high-priced ultraportable laptops — an ultranetportabook, if you will.

The chip, which will debut later this year, is said to cost more than Intel's low-cost Atoms, while falling below that of Intel's ULV (ultra-low voltage) Core 2 Duo chips. Intel apparently wasn't willing to give much more detail on the scheme other than that it's headed for for notebooks "that are less than one inch (25mm)" and the chip itself will be 22- by 22-mm.

The upshot is that users get a reasonable thin and low-cost laptop that still has some decent multimedia capabilities.

Intel's plans sound rather identical to AMD's new Athlon Neo processor which is based on the Yukon platform. The first machine to put Neo into practice is HP's Pavillion dv2, which starts at about $700.

With both AMD and Intel in the game, clearly the chipmakers believe this laptop niche-within-a-niche can become a fully fledged and profitable cranny. We'll just have to wait until more machines roll out in the space before it's clear if moderately-small, medium-cost laptops are the next big thing. ®

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