Few think any vendor can dethrone Apple's iPad 2 tablet -- at least not in the short term. But Intel is going to give it a shot by launching more than 10 new tablets that run on its chips, according to The Wall Street Journal. The chipmaker will reportedly unveil the new devices at Computex, the Taiwanese computer trade show, on May 31.
"It is the right move for anyone to strategically leverage the tablet momentum, but they have to get the programming model right and bring developers along," said Al Hilwa, a program director at IDC. "That is the single biggest challenge facing tablet makers outside of the hardware engineering and cost factors. For that, a viable application platform with strong development tools is key. We will have to see how Intel devices fall in this area."
35 Tablets in 2011
According to news reports, Intel will drive deeper into the tablet market by offering its chips in more than 35 tablets in 2011. Intel is competing against ARM-designed chips with a new chipset called Oak Trail that is designed specifically for tablets. The Oak Trail platform, officially known as the Atom processor Z670, offers increased battery life and several other new features.
"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," said Doug Davis, vice president and general manager of Intel's Netbook and Tablet Group. "We are accelerating the Intel Atom product line to now move faster than Moore's law, bringing new products to market on three process technologies in the next three years."
Multiple Operating Systems
Intel promises the new Z670 delivers improved video playback and fast Internet browsing without sacrificing performance. The media experience includes support for 1080p video as well as HDMI. The platform also supports Adobe Flash for rich content and Flash-based gaming. Intel tablets, then, can run on Google Android , MeeGo and Windows platforms.
Intel said the platform also helps deliver smaller and thinner devices by packing integrated graphics and the memory controller directly onto the processor. The processor is 60 percent smaller than previous generations with a lower-power design for fan-less devices as well as up to all-day battery life.
Intel is looking beyond the consumer market with its tablet strategy. The company said the new chipset works for a range of tablets in retail, medical and industrial applications. Intel pointed to solutions such as mobile clinical assistants, allowing medical staff to directly input data into patients' electronic files and avoid paper charting.