If you've been in the market for a netbook at any given moment for the past year, you may have noticed how manufacturers are basically just putting different enclosures around the same hardware -- 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 160 or 250GB hard drives, and no more than 1GB of RAM. This is largely the result of restrictions set by Intel and Microsoft, and apparently with the arrival of Intel's Pine Trail platform early next year things won't be too different.

According to Fudzilla, netbooks based on the upcoming 1.66GHz Atom N450 processor, which will debut in January featuring an on-die graphics core and memory controller, will still be tied to the 1GB limit. These systems should also have display sizes ranging from 7" to 10.2", either a 120GB hard drive or up to 20GB of solid-state storage, and a four-cell battery -- but on the flip side should start selling for as low as $250.

Further down the road, around March 2010, the 1.83GHz Atom N470 will reportedly allow running 2GB of RAM and up to 32GB of solid-state storage. The higher limit should provide a decent jump in performance for netbooks, while still targeting the $299 to $349 price points.

These restrictions are aimed at making a clear distinction between netbooks and ultraportables, while protecting the profit margins from more lucrative CULV-based offerings.