It looks like the torrent of Atom N270 netbooks won’t be followed by a similar rush of Atom N450-based budget ultraportables, as several manufacturers have apparently revealed plans to delay mass production until netbook heavyweights Acer and ASUS show their hand. That could push bulk availability back until the first half of 2010, despite engineering samples of the new Intel N450 chip already being available.
According to DigiTimes, lower than expected demand for netbooks – in part through segment saturation – in the first half of 2009 has left many vendors with legacy stock and reduced profit. That has encouraged them to take a more wait-and-see attitude, slashing R&D budgets and instead monitoring the big names to better gage the market.
Acer and ASUS are expected to reveal their N450-based ranges in Q4 2009, with white-box manufacturers planning to begin their own mass production in Q1 2010. The end result for the consumer may be reduced choice in netbook models, though given that the combination of building-to-budget, fitting in with Intel and Microsoft’s licensing limitations, and segment naivety has left most current netbooks pretty much identical to each other, that may not be such a bad thing.