AMD has unveiled a new mobile platform which it claims will fill a gap in the laptop market between low-cost netbook models such as the Asus Eee PC and traditional ultraportable systems.
Announced today but due for official launch at CES in Las Vegas, the AMD Ultrathin Notebook Platform features a new mobile chip, the Athlon Neo, and was jointly developed with HP, which has built its HP Pavilion dv2 laptop around the platform.
AMD has identified what it believes is a gap in the market between mini laptops, which are affordably priced but compromise on performance and usability, and ultraportables, which offer a full PC experience but tend to carry a high price tag.
"What we see is an opportunity for a new highly portable notebook category that gives you the best of both worlds," said Bahr Mahony, director of product marketing at AMD.
The Athlon Neo is based on the same core architecture as AMD's other Athlon and Opteron chips, and is clocked at 1.6GHz. In the new platform, codenamed Yukon, it is combined with an M690T chipset and an optional discrete ATI graphics chip.
This enables laptops based on the platform to deliver the full graphics experience under Windows Vista, according to Mahony, but to remain "amazingly thin yet optimally sized".
The Ultrathin Notebook Platform will be followed in the second half of 2009 by another called Congo that will feature a dual-core processor, while the Athlon Neo is single core only.
HP's Pavilion dv2 laptop is the first model based on the technology, but other vendors have shown an interest, according to AMD. The dv2 has a 12in display and is expected to cost between $699 (£456) and $899 (£586). "No vendor is currently selling in this price band," said Mahony.
While the dv2 is aimed primarily at consumers, Mahony added that vendors have also expressed interest in the platform for business-focused laptops.
Tony Lock, programme director at analyst firm Freeform Dynamics, believes that AMD could find success with the Ultrathin Notebook Platform.
"I think there is certainly room for a very portable solution that offers more processing capabilities than existing ultra portables and netbooks without breaking the bank," he said.
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