Intel's promised dual-core Atom processors are finally coming to a netbook near you. The N550 will help battery life a bit, and may improve 720p video playback, but by all accounts it's not going to magically turn netbooks into fully functional PCs. Still, you're getting DDR3 memory and easier Hulu watching—two things I certainly wouldn't turn down.

It's not clear based on Intel's press release exactly which manufacturers have shipped dual-core Atom netbooks already, but pretty much every major manufacturer will have them in time for the holiday season.

New Dual-Core Intel® Atom™ Processor-Based Netbooks Hit Shelves Today

* Sales from Acer, ASUS, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, MSI, Toshiba and others start today and through end of the year.
* Intel has shipped more than 70 million Intel® Atom™ netbook chips since its 2008 launch.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 23, 2010 – Intel Corporation announced today that a dozen of new netbooks based on its new mobile dual-core Intel® Atom™ processors are available in stores today. The netbooks – available now and through the end of the year from manufacturers including Acer, ASUS, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, MSI, and Toshiba – enable new levels of support for applications like games, as well as Adobe Flash* technology for access to a number of Web pages including online hotel booking systems and multimedia sites such as YouTube* and Hulu*.

"Acer strives to continually improve on our customers' total mobile experience, whether it is increased responsiveness or extended Internet interactivity through longer battery life," said David Lee, associate vice president of Acer's Mobile Computing Business Unit. "We are pleased to select dual-core Intel Atom processors for Acer netbooks, helping to empower netbook users achieve even more – both at work and at leisure."

With the dual-core Intel® Atom™ processor N550, consumers can enjoy Internet access on the go with a more responsive experience in the same compact form factor, DDR3 memory support and similar great battery life as the single-core Intel® Atom™ processor N450.

"In their short history, the netbook category has experienced impressive growth," said Erik Reid, director of marketing for mobile platforms at Intel. "Having shipped about 70 million Intel Atom chips for netbooks since our launch of the category in 2008, there is obviously a great market for these devices around the world."

New netbooks based on dual-core Intel Atom chips arrive in stores today and are available at a variety of consumer-friendly price points. For more information, visit www.intel.com/products/processor/atom.