Fans of netbook PCs and smartphones might get a tiny frisson of excitement from the news that Intel is introducing two new Atom chips next month.

Early reports suggest the more interesting of the pair will be the Z515, which will most likely be used in so-called MIDs (mobile internet devices) and, possibly, even in mobile phones.

Easy on the juice

With the Z515, Intel appears to be focusing on reducing power consumption to a level that makes it more suitable for small devices. Although it runs at up to 1.2GHz, it will be able to drop to 800MHz at a power rating of just 0.16W.

At that speed, it will also have to make do with a slower graphics processer and system bus, but that should be plenty for next-generation smartphones.

Faster netbooks

The other chip, the Z550, will consume the same amount of power as current Atom CPUs, but will raise the clock speed from 1.86GHz. to 2GHz, making for slightly faster netbooks in all likelihood.