Intel has tried to keep tabs on netbook sales overtaking notebook sales by placing a limitation on how large a netbook screen could be. Netbooks that used the Atom N series processor were restricted to screen sizes of 10.2" or less. Sound the rumor alert though, because word on the street is that Intel will be removing this hardware restriction sometime in the second half of this year, which will allow any netbook using the dual-core N550 processor to have larger screens.
This doesn't come as a shock to us, as Intel is trying to find a new way to keep netbook sales on the rise after seeing them level off in the past six months. Offering new models and styles will probably drum up a few percentage points in sales. It might also be that Intel is trying to keep up with Asus' move of the new EEE-PC netbooks, which offer 1080p video on a 10" screen, by combining Pine Trail and BroadcamCrystalHD to make it possible on larger LCDs.
More evidence into this theory comes from the fact that the Atom's challenger, the ARM processor, has been seen in more and more netbooks, and will soon be seen in several new mini-PCs called smartbooks, which have screens larger than 10.2". Intel probably won't want a frivolous restriction for no reason, especially if the smartbooks pick up in sales. This will give manufacturers the go-ahead to start designing new models with bigger screens in preparation for the holiday season, as ARM A8 and A9 processors will be used in several smartbooks from Lenovo.
The problem that exists here is defining the true difference between netbook and notebook. Most consumers feel that the weight and scope of work that can be performed on a PC determined the line. Is it screen size, too? Chime-in in our comments section!