New technologies showcased at this years Consumer Electronics Show are promising to bring diversity into the netbook market .
The changes will come across the board with new players hoping to challenge the status quo of the netbook space, which until now, has been dominated by Intel and Microsoft.
With ABI Research predicting the low-cost netbook segment reaching 200 million units by 2011, a number of chip makers are hoping to break Intel's stranglehold on the fast-growing market.
Chipmaker Freescale is staking its claim with a push into the brains of the netbook, the CPU, currently dominated by Intel's Atom processor.
Freescale unveiled its reference design for a 7-inch, touchscreen tablet running on the company's low-power ARM-based processor.
In a similar vein, Lenovo became the first top tier PC maker to announce an ARM-based netbook, the Lenovo Skylight., using a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.
ARM, a processor architecture developed by ARM Holdings in the UK, offer less computing punch than the Atom chip, but requires less power and produces less heat.
While Intel claims 94 percent of the netbook market for 2009, it will have been overtaken by the ARM-based chipmakers by 2012, according to The Information Group.
The research company predicts Intel chips will be in 43.2m netbooks by that year but 52.9m ARM-based systems will ship, relegating Intel to 45 per cent of the total market.
The rise of netbooks will also put pressure on the world's largest software company, Microsoft.
Already nearly one-third of the 35 million netbooks shipped in 2009 came with some variant of the open-source operating system Linux, ABI Research said. And because Windows requires a processor that is more similar to the Atom than the ARM, the new ARM netbooks will draw even more market share away from Microsoft.
Even more worrisome for Microsoft, a number of manufacturers were introducing netbooks based on Google's operating system, Android -- a more user-friendly version of Linux.