Intel may be dominating the chip side of the netbook scene with its Atom processor, but other manufacturers are getting ready to enter the fastest-growing segment of the PC market as well. One of them is Freescale Semiconductor, which will jump into the game with a new reference design that uses a system-on-a-chip platform based on an ARM Cortex-A8 processor.

The company doesnít see their platform competing directly with Intel Atom processors but rather says it is designed to go against similar ARM based offerings from Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. Freescaleís netbook reference design will reportedly enable much cheaper netbooks (around the $199 mark) featuring the 1GHz ARM Cortex A8-based i.MX51 processor, Canonicalís Ubuntu operating system, Adobeís Flash Player software, a new power management chip, and the SGTL5000 ultra low-power audio codec.

While products arenít expected to hit the market until later in 2009, the Freescale netbook platform itself is scheduled to debut at the 2009 CES expo in Las Vegas this week.