CES Rumor: Samsung quietly releasing a 12-inch netbook to avoid Intel's wrath

samsung-logoSamsung has been making moves to launch laptops here in the U.S. and one of their first may be a 12-inch netbook with a Via Nano chip, probably the NC20. However, they won’t display it publicly at CES for fear of Intel’s wrath. Here’s what seems to be happening:

Intel offers “guidelines” on how big a netbook can be and still run an Atom chip. The maximum seems to be 10 inches, small enough to look like a netbook. Because these low-powered chips disappoint so many buyers – think MacBook Air – putting them into anything that resembles a real laptop is tantamount to admitting that the chip isn’t powerful enough to handle regular work. Hence the moniker “netbook” and the consistently diminutive names like “nano” and “atom.”

Via’s Nano chip is equally underpowered (in a good way, not a bad way). They chose the chip because Intel guidelines state netbooks shouldn’t be bigger than 10 inches. It takes very little juice to run and as I’ve said before about the Air you honestly don’t expect these things to churn through spreadsheets and then do a little video editing before lunch. Samsung’s new netbook should be similar to the MSI netbook was saw earlier. The existence of this 12-incher does poke a hole in the wrath theory but could there be a more powerful chip coming down the pike to supply these “midbooks?”