Intel has admitted that it has significant ground to catch up in its aim to become “relevant” in the tablet market this year, with hopes pinned on the release of its Oak Trail platform, for now, at least.
According to Kevin O’Donovan at Intel, 2011 is the year in which Intel will seek relevance in the tablet market, with the firm in the unusual position of, ahem, trailing in the sector. Though it seems that the release of Cedar Trail in the second half of the year is what Intel is truly waiting for.
Although it has the faint feeling of an interim release to begin to establish a greater presence in the market, the next gen Atom platform is heralded as its first chip aimed solely at the tablet, and is best described as a fork in the road map between Pine Trail and the forthcoming Cedar Trail.
Intel states that the Atom Z670 chip, given the codename Oak Trail, is essentially a hybrid of the Moorestown chip, which offers low power consumption, along with the ability of Pine Trail to run Windows 7 – what it thinks is a vital component of its approach to tablets.
Of course Intel is expecting to see a large number of other operating systems finding their way with its chips in the near future, including versions of Android‘s Honeycomb. When asked how it expects Meego to compete, Intel told us: “Meego-based netbooks and tablets in 2011 based on the respective OEM/OSV product schedules.”
Though today’s briefing was for talking up Oak Trail, Intel focused strongly on the Cedar Trail platform, with small details emerging of the presence of McAfee security systems inbuilt into the forthcoming chips following the recent takeover.
Oak Trail uses the 45 nanometre process, which even Intel recognised is no longer at the cutting edge of chip technology as far as other devices are concerned. Customers will have to wait until the forthcoming Cedar Trail to get their hands on the firm’s first tablet chip using the smaller 32 nm process.
According to Intel, the Oak Trail chip will be 60 percent smaller than Pine Trail, meaning a power consumption of 3W and therefore improved battery life and performance in tablet devices.
Of course it was also pointed out that Cedar Trail will surpass this, lowering to in the region of 1.5-2W.
Intel will be unveiling the chip, which TechEye reckoned was gearing up for mass production back in November of last year, to customers at the Computex event in Taiwan. There will be designs like those seen at CES from “Evolve III, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Motion, Razer, and Viliv available starting in May and throughout 2011”, though no specifics for Computex were given at this time.
According to Intel there are 35 designs currently in the pipeline for the chip, with more on the way.
The Oak Trail chip will feature a single core 1.5 GHz processor, with up to 2GB of Single-Channel DDR2 800 MHz memory, and will use the SM35 chipset.
Intel has been somewhat late to pick up on the tablet trend, presumably scratching its head and wondering exactly what they are useful for, though they presumably stopped dilly-dallying after they managed work out why anyone would want one as shown below.
The firm now hopes to capitalise on the ever-increasing ultra mobile laptops, net books and tablets that are coming in an increasing variety of shapes and form factors, such as dual screens and detachables, as the devices continue to stamp their authority on both business and personal use.