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Is it curtains for Atom netbooks soon?

While Intel remains an unstoppable force with demand for its Core i-series “Sandy Bridge” processor range in particular continuing to climb, recent sales numbers shared out by the company show that there is a darker, more dismal looking side in one segment – its low-cost, low-powered Atom chip line.

Sales of Intel’s Atom processors hit an all-time low during Q4 2011 and there is no doubt that these plummeting sales will only continue moving forth. The chart below reflects a dramatic drop in sales where in Q2 it reached a total of $352 million, and a mere six months later it was down to a lowly $167 million.

But really, this isn’t all that surprising when you factor in market trends these days. Tablets are all the rage and regular, more powerful notebooks are a lot cheaper in general as well; not to mention the direct competition, AMD’s Brazos platform strutting its stuff with superior capabilities.

This doesn’t mean the nail’s in the coffin for Atom just yet, however. Developing countries are still showing demand for them as part of Intel’s ULCPC (Ultra Low-Cost Personal Computer) strategy and the firm is only starting to do its thing in the smartphone market along with there being some interesting tablet designs on cue in line of Windows 8; both areas of which Intel plans to aim Atom squarely at in the form of “Silvermont”, not scheduled to arrive until 2013.

Kitguru says: Would you miss the Atom?

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