Up until now, the maximum screen size for an Intel Atom-powered machines has been 10.2″. This isn’t just a nice piece of trivia – it’s an official Intel regulation.
This was presumably introduced because, firstly, bigger screens need higher resolutions, which the lightweight Atom CPUs simply can’t power without noticeable loss in performance, and secondly, so cheapy laptop makers wouldn’t be tempted to undercut their competitors by putting a budget Atom CPU in larger machine.
This is all set to change with the release of Intel’s dual-core N550 processor, due in the “second half” of this year – although not drastically. Don’t expect to see any N550-powered 17″ laptops, the size limitation is only being extended slightly to 11.6″ and 12.1″ models, so let’s all raise our glasses to the continuing blurriness of the line between netbooks, subnotebooks, notebooks and laptops.