Intel's Atom processor is found in virtually every netbook, but others are still trying to get inside your mini-laptop. Independently, ARM and VIA are showing improved chips, but both most likely won't touch what Intel has in store.
ARM processors are found in most smartphones, but its improved Cortex-A9 processor is aimed at netbooks or smartbooks (a term given to a small notebook even shittier than a netbook). It will have dual cores and is capable of running at 2GHz. They are very confident it will out preform Intel's Atom N270 chip, but where ARM has always been able to compete is with battery life. The chip is super low power with each CPU consuming under 250mW. Battery life is great, but ARM still can't run Windows XP, nevertheless Win 7. However, for those future Google Chrome OS netbooks it may just work.
Taiwanese chipmaker VIA, on the other hand, is gunning after notebooks with 10- to 12-inch displays (or NetNotes as they are so cleverly calling them). They are pairing their VIA C7-M ULV or VIA Nano CPU with its VX855 chipset which adds 1080p HD support. VIA has always had performance, but battery life is its Achilles heel.
So what do we learn from all this? Competition is good, but Intel (and even AMD) have the power and the endurance you want inside your netbook right now, like today. And it is only going to get better later this year. By then these guys will have to start playing catch up yet again. [Via, ARM]