Intel unveiled its 2009 platform for its Atom processor on Tuesday, and gave details of its Moblin operating system which are both targeted largely at Netbooks.

The company said a more efficient version of its Atom chip used in most netbooks would ship in the fourth quarter, signaling the next stage in the development of the low-cost computers, which shot to popularity last year as the economy slipped into recession.

The new Atom is known as Pine Trail, and shrinks the number of chips required to develop an Atom netbook, nettop, or some other device down to two: the CPU package, known as Pineview, and the I/O chip, called Tiger Point. It is scheduled to come out in the fourth quarter.

Intel also disclosed the availability for download of a new beta version of Moblin, a variant of Linux for netbooks and other products. Moblin v2.0, as it is called, comes with a new interface called the M-zone that is designed to simplify the way users play digital media, use the Internet and engage in social networking, according to the Wall Street Journal.

There are requests from our customers to be able to deploy alternative operating environments, said Intel's vice president of software and services, Doug Fisher, on the conference call. He added that Moblin is not meant to be compared with Microsoft's offerings.

More details on Atom and Moblin are expected at Taiwan's Computex computer exhibition in June, company executives said on a conference call.