Intel Debuts White Box Netbook Design For Chinese Market

Intel has announced a new program that aims to swamp the Chinese market with netbooks packages destined for so-called white-box vendors across a number of segments.

All four packages on offer will come with Intel's own Atom N270 CPU, an Intel 945GSE chipset and a Linux Operating system - possibly Intel's own Moblin Linux distribution.

The cheaper version, which starts at $256, will have a 8.9-inch LCD monitor while the more expensive ones will have 10.2-inch panels with prices jumping to $410.

All will have at least 512MB RAM and will also come with either an 8GB or a 16GB solid state drive. Intel is stressing on the fact that the final prices of the netbooks will be set by the vendors which will be participating in the program called Hurdle.

Netbooks now apparently accounts for one tenth of the global notebook shipments with the number expected to rise to 20 percent by 2012, with male buyers only making 40 percent of the market.

Significantly, sources also claim that Intel has identified the telecommunication market - the same one that flogs those attractive, "free" netbooks with expensive data monthly contracts - as the largest channel.

PC World comments that the perceived lack of quality from small, local hardware manufacturers has convinced Intel to turn to them to increase the company's influence on the Chinese market.

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Our Comments

We will monitor Intel's progress as a white-box vendor closely as this could have a significant impact on the very structure of the tech ecosystem worldwide. The semiconductor giant will in effect selling Chinese hardware parts to Chinese companies. Intel is now producing and subcontracting many of the components that go into a netbook and it is only a matter of months until Intel turns to an Apple-like entity in the netbook market.

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