In spite of what many press sources have been saying, AMD made clear this week that it has no intention of producing a low-power processor that will give it leverage in the booming netbook market.

Instead of aiming for a foothold in the field dominated by tiny PCs like Asus's Eee PC line-up that are powered by Intel Atom chips, AMD says it prefers to look to machines like the MacBook Air for inspiration.

Combo approach

The chip firm's CEO, Dirk Meyer, explained: "We're ignoring the netbook phenomenon [and are] just thinking about PC form factors above that."

Meanwhile, his laptop-specialist colleague Bahr Mahony added: "There are a fair number of people that are not satisfied with the experience they're getting on these mininotebook platforms."

Given recent reports about dissatisfied customers returning netbooks in large numbers, it makes sense to plan ahead and consider the market for machines that combine price appeal with a decent level of computing power.

Power demand

The MacBook Air case is a perfect example, as its first iteration relied on integrated Intel graphics, whereas the second introduced a considerably more powerful Nvidia option to better serve Apple's customers.

However, rather than building such boutique-style computers around new AMD chips, vendors opting for the non-Intel route may prefer to aim for the middle ground at a price comparable to the more costly of the netbooks.