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Intel launches chips for low-cost, thin laptops

Chip giant is launching its line of processors for thin, inexpensive laptops at Computex in Taipei.

Intel is launching its line of processors for thin, inexpensive laptops at the Computex tech conference in Taipei. Intel marketing chief Sean Maloney talked about this in a phone interview.

"It's clear that people like devices to be thin and light," said Maloney, who was speaking from the Computex conference in Taipei where he will be giving a keynote on Tuesday.

"We've really taken that to heart and come out with a complete top-to-bottom range of microprocessors that enable radically longer battery life and much smaller designs," said Maloney, referring to Intel's new lineup of consumer ultra-low-voltage (CULV) processors.

Maloney continued. "There are a lot of computers being announced here (Computex) that look like conventional notebooks in terms of how wide the screens are, but they're super-thin, the performance is very good, and they get up to nine hours battery life without a big, fat battery at the back," he said.

MSI X340 X-Slim laptop is one of the first CULV laptops
MSI X340 X-Slim laptop is one of the first CULV laptops MSI

"It's a big change for industry. It means the technology weaves its way into your life more because you're going to have all-day notebooks," Maloney said.

The new processors will encompass the Core 2, Pentium, and Celeron processor architectures, according to Maloney.

Prices for these new laptops will start at $399 and range up to $2,000 in some cases, Maloney said.

And will laptops based on these chips impact the sales of Netbooks? "I don't think so," Maloney said, but added: "It's a loser mentality to not develop one segment because you're worried about the other."

Maloney continued. "The demographics (for Netbooks) that's completely untouched is kids between the ages of 7 and 12. So, the Netbook market is still at a very early stage," he said.

In addition, Intel unveiled the Mobile Intel GS40 Express Chipset for the new ULV-based laptops. This "value" chipset enables ULV-based laptops to support HD (high-definition) playback, Windows Vista Premium support and native support for integrated HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface).

Wireles options will include embedded WiMAX or Intel "My Wi-Fi" technology. My Wi-Fi transforms a laptop into a WiFi personal area network, connecting directly with up to eight Wi-Fi-certified devices, according to Intel.

Though a crush of new thin laptops are expected, the MSI X340 is one of the first. The X340 has a 13.4-inch screen, weighs 2.86 pounds, and measures .78 inches thick.