Intel has announced the availability of its Atom Oak Trail (Z670) processors for tablets and hybrid devices and says that we will be seeing it in devices from next month – but has it come too late for Intel to make a serious impact on the market?
The current tablet market is dominated by chips based on ARM’s architecture – such as nVidia’s Tegra 2 – and of course Apple’s A4 and A5 chips currently residing inside the iPad and iPad 2 respectively. So what is Intel offering that may woo manufacturers to chose its CPU over the others? Well Oak Trail promises to “delivers improved video playback, fast Internet browsing and longer battery life, without sacrificing performance.” However it is another aspect of Oak Trail that may see it become popular. The Z670 supports multiple operating systems including Android, Windows, Meego and even Google’s upcoming Chrome OS.
ARM’s chips are currently unable to run Windows software, but the announcement at CES earlier this year by Steve Ballmer that the next version of Windows will support ARM processors could be a fly in the ointment for Intel. The company is however confident of success and says we will see 35 Oak Trail “innovative tablet and hybrid designs” this year from manufactures such as Lenovo, Fujitsu, Motion Computing, Razer and Viliv. Hardly the premium OEMs Intel will be hoping to convert to its platform but 35 tablets in one six-month period is an impressive start. The Z670 will run at 1.5GHz and support 1080p video with the aid of Intel's GMA 600 integrated graphics.
Intel also announced that it would be giving us a sneak peak at its next-generation, 32nm Intel Atom processors – codenamed Cedar Trail – at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing which is taking place at the moment. Intel hopes this will allow for “a new wave of fanless, cool and quiet, sleek and innovative netbooks, entry-level desktops and all-in-one designs.”
In related news, Intel’s road map for 2011 and 2012 has been leaked and shows that the Sandy Bridge E-Series has been slated for a Q4 release this year while the 22nm Ivy Bridge platform will be coming out sometime in the first half of next year. We can also expect Pentium and Celeron-based Sandy Bridge models before the end of this year.