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Intel is making it easier for Chinese white-box computer manufacturers to get into the hottest segment of the market by offering them netbook packages aimed at four market segments.

According to a report Monday by Taiwanese industry-watcher DigiTimes, the four packages are defined by cost as follows (denominated in China's yuan renminbi, or "people's currency"):

  • 1,750 RMB (£172, $256)
  • 1,751-2,100 RMB (£172-£207, $256-$307)
  • 2,101-2,450 RMB (£207-£241, $307-$358)
  • 2,451-2,800 RMB (£241-£276, $358-$410)

The lowest-priced package will, according to the "sources at netbook vendors" cited by DigiTimes, consist of an Atom N270 processor, 945GSE Express chipset, an 8.9-inch display, 512MB memory, 8G/16GB solid-state drive, and Linux - which we assume may very well be Moblin.

The three other packages are reported to all be based on the same processor and chipset, but will have 10.2-inch displays and other components. The Atom N270 and its chipset together draw 11.8 watts of power and cost $83 (£56) in lots of one thousand, leaving plenty of left-over cash and power budget in the top-end packages for those unnamed other components.

The inclusion of Linux/Moblin in the mix leads us to speculate that the netbooks built with these packages may be targeted to China's vast number of first-time computer users, seeing as how Windows seems to be overtaking Linux among netbook users familiar with Redmond's ubiquitous OS.

DigiTimes's sources also cite "internal Intel estimates" which project that although netbooks now account for 10 per cent of notebook shipments worldwide, that number will rise to 20 per cent by 2012, with 60 per cent of the growing netbook market being women, "who mainly focus on the look of the product."

The article isn't clear whether that fashion-focused qualifier is DigiTimes' belief or Intel's - although we doubt that the chipmaker would risk potentially alienating a good chunk of its customer base by making such a comment publicly.

Intel didn't immediately respond to our request for clarification. ®

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