It looks like Intel CEO Paul Otellini spilled the beans on a new Atom processor which is supposed to come around in the second quarter of this year. The processor, which is as of yet unnamed, is to be a dual-core Atom targeted at netbook. There are already Atom dual-core processors available, but they are targeted at nettops.
Positioning these new dual-core Atoms as netbook processors means that Intel must be confident that power consumption has reached a level which won’t detract much from battery life. While this could mean more changes in the silicon, this could also merely be due to Pinetrail’s long battery life. With ASUS squeezing out up to 10 hours on many of its best netbooks there is certainly battery life headroom available for a part which consumes a little more power.
A dual core Atom for netbooks would make Atom more competitive on performance against the VIA Nano, which has traditionally offered better performance. I very much doubt it will do anything to help compete against the Neo’s performance, however, as the Neo’s architecture is far and away quicker than Atom’s.