Via’s Nano Plans: Too Little, Too Late?

At the end of 2008, the OSNews team made a short list of the tech-related things they would like to see in 2009. On my list was the hope that we’d see more competition in the netbook market, which is now dominated by Intel’s Atom platform, resulting in manufacturers all releasing essentially the same machine, but with a different badge and case colour. Where are Intel’s competitors? We know AMD is on its way, we know that the Chinese are producing some noteworthy chips, and that the ARM chip is jumping up and down screaming for attention – but where is Via’s Nano platform? Shouldn’t it be here already?

Apparently, Via is having problems with producing its Nano platform in significant numbers. Ars explains that “we don’t know if said problems were caused by Nano design problems (Centaur) motherboard/chipset issues (VIA) or Fujitsu-Siemens’ ability to fabricate the processor in volume. There were problems – and that’s it.” Few machines today use Via’s Nano platform, with the only machine in the pipeline (that we know of) being Samsung’s NC20.

Despite an apparent lack of OEM deals for the Nano, Via continues to improve the processor and its platform. In the first half of 2009, we’ll see an updated single core Nano, while the second half of the year will bring dual-core Nano chips. The updated single core will be named Nano 3000, and will bring improvements in performance as well as power usage – which is a good idea, because benchmarks and tests showed that while the Nano chip was more powerful than Intel’s Atom, it did suck more power.

Of course, Intel isn’t sitting still, and updated Atoms – among which will be dual core chips fitting for netbooks – are also planned for 2009. In addition, AMD’s Yukon platform is targeting the same space as Via’s Nano, raising the question whether or not the relatively small Via ever has any chance of having noticeable success with Nano.


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