We’ve known about the MSI X-Slim X320 since CES 2009, although not too much, at least as far as pricing and release dates. We also know that MSI has been showing off the X-Slim X340 and X600 ahead of next week’s CeBIT 2009 in Germany.
What we didn’t know before now, and this is information from DigiTimes, is that Asustek would also be showing off a similar laptop/notebook.
All four devices are based on Intel’s Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) platform. The CULV platform is designed for ultra-thin and ultra-portable devices. Apparently, at least in the case of MSI, the X340 and X600 and maybe the X320 fit into Intel’s plans for CULV, as far as breaking the CULV platform out into three distinct segments. As far as the X320, it’s been listed as having an Atom, and Intel’s lowest tier of the CULV platform is centered around a Celeron. It could be that the Atom takes the place of that, however, the Celeron and Core 2 Solo and Core 2 Duo CPUs available for the CULV are all compatible with the same CPU socket, whereas the Atom has a different architecture.
However, DigiTimes mentions that Intel has listed around 20 different configurations, and that Hewlett-Packard (HP) will also be joining Asustek and MSI in the CULV market.
The article (and DigiTimes’ sources) make a good argument that the CULV platform may end up having an impact on the netbook market, since the 10-inch netbook market is quickly heading towards very low prices (the Asus Eee PC 1000HE and 10.1-inch Acer Aspire One come to mind with their sub-$400 prices). For those manufacturers that want to compete with ultraportable laptops, but don’t want to get into a race to the bottom with the 10″ netbooks, the CULV platform makes a lot of sense.