After more than a year of saber rattling, Intel officials have taken a significant step in their push into the mobile device space and in ramping up the competition with ARM Holdings, whose chip designs are found in most smartphones and tablets.
At the Intel Developer Forum in China April 11, Intel officials unveiled its "Oak Trail" Atom platform, including the new Atom Z670. They also gave attendees a peek at the next Atom platform, dubbed "Cedar Trail," a 32-nanometer platform that will extend Intel's reach into a market that the giant chip maker has little if any presence.
The officials said the Oak Trail chips will begin appearing in tablets in May, and that in all, more than 35 designs will start appearing from OEMs like Lenovo, Fujitsu, Evolve III, Motion Computing and Razer, running a variety of operating systems, including Windows, Android and MeeGo.
Executives from Intel, the world's largest chip maker and the longtime dominant vendor in the server and PC markets, hope that Oak Trail and later Cedar Trail will help the company fulfill the promise of President and CEO Paul Otellini, who said during the IDF in September 2010 that Intel will become a major player in the burgeoning tablet space.
"The new Intel Atom 'Oak Trail' platform, with 'Cedar Trail' to follow, are examples of our continued commitment to bring amazing personal and mobile experiences to netbook and tablet devices, delivering architectural enhancements for longer battery life and greater performance," Doug Davis, vice president and general manager of the Netbook and Tablet Group at Intel, said in a statement.
Intel's interest in mobile devices is not surprising. Market research firm Gartner is forecasting that tablet sales will grow from almost 70 million this year to 294 million in 2015. Meanwhile, In-Stat is predicting 850 million smartphone sales in 2015. The PC market is still strong and growing, but not at the same rate.
The problem for Intel is that it has not yet been able to drive down the power consumption rate in its Atom chips to compete with ARM-designed chips from the likes of Samsung, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm, which are found in most of the smartphones and tablets sold, including the highly popular Apple iPads. Intel intends to attack ARM's dominance starting with Oak Trail, and with a faster cadence that will see two new Atom platforms in the next two to three years. Cedar Trail chips will start sampling this year and begin shipping in 2012, while a 22-nm chip will begin shipping in 2013.
For more, read the eWEEK article: Intel Takes on ARM with New 'Oak Trail' Atom Platform.;
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