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Coming soon: Atom processors for tablets

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Atom processor? tablet chip? software?

Intel Corp. disclosed at Computex plans for next-generation Atom processor for tablets and netbooks. Oak Trail is an integrated SoC that will sample in early 2011 sporting a 50 percent reduction in average power consumption and support for high-definition video, Intel said.

Like Intel's existing Atom chips, Oak Trail will support Windows 7, Google Android and the merged Intel and Nokia mobile Linux software called MeeGo. As part of an Intel keynote at Computex, Acer chief executive Gianfranco Lanci said his company will make netbooks and tablets based on Oak Trail and MeeGo.

Intel has been driving mobile Linux for devices just as its PC partner Microsoft has been supporting ARM-based mobile processors. "MeeGo's open software platform will present our customers with another choice of a friendly, easy-to-use operating system, said Lanci in an Intel press statement.

Separately, one of Acer's systems rivals, AsusTek, announced at Computex a PC tablet for consumers based on Windows 7 and Atom.

Intel's Oak Trail chip is another data point in Intel's effort to extend beyond its traditional PC business, in part through a new system-on-chip initiative the company has pushed for several years. However to date most of Intel's Atom business has been in netbooks which have designed in 50 million of the low power x86 processors in the past two years, Intel said.

Last month, Intel announced its first design win in a digital TV. Sony will use Intel's Sodaville Atom-based SoC in a Web-connected set running GoogleTV software. Intel also said Chinese carmaker HawTai Automobile will use its MeeGo software in a future in-vehicle-infotainment system.

As part of his Computex keynote, Dadi Perlmutter, co-general manager of Intel's Architecture Group also gave an overview of Intel's next-generation architecture code named Sandy Bridge. The 32nm architecture will include designs that merge graphics and processor cores, targeted to be in production late 2010.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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