We expected tablets to be the focus at the Computex show in Taipei, and have not been disappointed. Many computer makers are already showing off prototype tablets and now Intel is launching new processors to power these slates. Om has a great view of the Intel tablet situation — he correctly points out that Wintel (Windows and Intel) should be scared, given the dual-core mobile processors on the way from Qualcomm . These new processors are going to put the power of a “real” computer in new mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and Intel is going to be sucking wind if it ‘s not prepared. Om is right with this view, but I believe it’s Microsoft that will be hung out to dry with the growth of tablets in the market.
Intel has seen this coming since the netbook took hold of consumer’s wallets. The company downplayed the importance of netbooks, but the cheap devices just wouldn’t go away. So Intel started concentrating on making processors that could run these mobile computers better than the original Atom, which it’s just announced at Computex.
Intel unveiled new dual-core Atom processors based on the Pine Trail chipsets to take the netbook into the next generation. These processors will up the performance on the lowly netbook, while maintaining good battery life. A new processor family for tablets was also announced — the Oak Trail chipset, which is designed for devices such as slates with a more mobile usage. Oak Trail will see a 50 percent reduction in power consumption, according to Intel, while allowing the handling of high-resolution video. Intel is not ignoring the super-thin notebook form, the smartbook, as it also unveiled the Canoe Lake family.
These new processors aimed at netbooks and tablets have one advantage over the Qualcomm alternatives: the ability to run Windows 7. Intel is quick to point that advantage out to everyone who will listen, but also makes it clear that Oak Trail will also run MeeGo and operating systems from Google. Android is going to factor greatly in the burgeoning tablet market, and Intel wants to play in that arena.
Intel’s creation of the Moblin OS now begins to make sense for the company’s future plans. Moblin is a Linux-based operating system designed from the ground up to run on netbooks. It was unable to knock Windows off the netbook, so Intel joined forces with Nokia and Maemo to launch the MeeGo platform. MeeGo is built to work on netbooks, tablets and smartphones, and is designed from the to handle touch operation. This makes it competitive with Google’s Android platform, and Intel is sure to optimize Oak Trail to handle MeeGo.
Computer giant Acer is joining Intel’s battle with Qualcomm as it announced its line of netbooks and upcoming tablets will all run MeeGo. It’s embracing Intel’s new processors and the mobile OS to bring to market, and as soon as this year. This is a big win for Intel in its quest to retain dominance in the mobile computing segment.
No question the big loser in this unfolding mobile computing segment is Microsoft. Windows 7 is not designed to handle tablets with touch control, and there is nothing on the horizon from Redmond to remedy that. Microsoft has failed to take the Tablet PC mainstream in the past due to its shortcomings in this area, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. The expected rapid rise of Android in the tablet space, coupled with Intel’s forging of its own mobile platform, leaves Microsoft hanging out to dry.
Image credit: Engadget
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