Though the typically much more expensive (and rare) VIA CPU-based netbooks have provided a little competition in this PC subsector, Intel has long dominated with its efficient yet affordable Atom model, both against other processors and graphics hardware, though not exactly in fair play.
After the corporation was sued last month for $1.45bn by the European Comission regarding its anticompetitive business practices (i.e. offering manufacturers major rebates if they purchased most or all of their CPUs from them), and then called out by NVIDIA for similar reasons, one of the very manufacturers guilty in the case, Lenovo, has announced the very first netbook to use NVIDIA's ION graphics (pictured below), taking some emphasis off the Atom's duties.
The news follows ASUS' (not included in the list) release of their own ATI graphics-based netbook, a very limited edition just heard of last week.
Here are the specs for what Lenovo is calling the IdeaPad S12:
- Display: 12.1 WXGA (1280 X 800) LED 200 nit, 250g
- Processor: Intel Atom N270
- Graphics: Intel integrated GMA 950, Nvidia ION
- Memory: Up to 1GB DDR2 533 MHz
- Hard Drive: Up to 160 GB SATA (160, 250, 320)
- Battery Life: 3 hours with 3-cell, 6 hours with 6-cell
- Weight: 1.4kg with 3 cell, 1.55kg with 6 cell
- Dimensions: 292 X 216 X 22-28.9mm
- Connectivity: 10/100m Ethernet, Broadcom 578M, Intel WiFi Link 5150 1X2 AGN, Intel WiFi Link 5100 1X2 AGN, Non-Intel wireless b/g, Non-Intel wireless b/g/n, Bluetooth
- Other: 3 USB, 1 Expresscard slot (Intel and VIA platforms), 4-in-1 card reader, VGA, RJA45, HDMI
- Software: XP Home SP3 (32 bit)
The new PC will be available from June through business partners and Lenovo's website, with pricing starting at $449. The ION graphics-based models specifically will be made available from later this summer.
"We've heard from consumers loud and clear about the need for affordable and extremely portable computing devices, and we've responded by introducing our third netbook with a completely new form factor, making mini-computing more usable and redefining value in today's market," said Dion Weisler, vice president, Business Operations, Idea Product Group, Lenovo. "We are pioneering new territory in the developing netbook arena by being the first vendor to give customers high quality video and entertainment capabilities in a netbook with optional NVIDIA ION graphics."
Like ASUS' machine, it still houses the Atom CPU, but at least it's a step in a positive direction, so here's commending both Lenovo for being responsible, and NVIDIA for pushing change instead of just suing the pants off Intel (necessary sometimes, but not always).