We expected tablets to be the focus at the Computex show in Taipei and we have not been disappointed. Many computer makers are already showing prototype tablets at the show, and Intel is launching new processors to power these slates. Microsoft is now officially sucking wind.

MeeGo Moorestown

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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  1. This is great news for consumers. Competition between ARM and Intel is great. For to long Intel was the only chip for “real computing” for the consumers. Now ARM is coming full on with low power chips which will push Intel to finally do something about power consumption and graphics. Won’t it be great to have netbooks, notebooks, and all kinds of ultra-mobile devices that are silent, have very low power consumption, and can handle intense graphics? Competition is great!

    As for Windows. . . well, MS’s days are numbered for being the monopoly holder of the OS for consumers. While MS, and Apple, may fight it tooth and nail, app portability is coming.

  2. wanna bet? Windows will be around way way way longer than MeeGo after it fails. MeeGo’s going nowhere, just like Moblin & Maemo didnt.

    MeeGo will be phased out after it flops in support for Android only. Apple & H-Palm are the only other mobile OS’s that have a long term future.

    1. @Tinnae Actually I think Meego is finally starting to make sense. With Nokia heavily pushing it and now Acer, Asus, Novell and intel all behind it I’m really starting to think that it represents the best mobile OS – fully open without any restrictions on what device manufactures can do with it and free. It may just offer the best way for OEMs to offer interesting new devices.

      And for the record I don’t think that either Meego or Moblin flopped they just weren’t that interesting till Apple came a long and created a tablet market.

  3. Johan Bachmiester Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Yeah it about time Windows feel some pain. Hopefully Windows 7 will gradually fade away for good. The Windows 7 OS itself is very good only because it is based on non-Microsoft technology (namely DEC VMS) but the GUI and some of its underlying components (jet engine, system registry, domain model, etc) are some of the worst conceived and implemented software in the history of computing and part of the reason Windows will always be hobbled with security and performance issues forever. Windows 7 is still a 1993-based Operating System and it shows.

    Word to Microsoft: KEEP WINDOWS OS AWAY FROM ANY OF YOUR MOBILE COMPUTING INITIATIVES ! (start from scratch and optimize for touch)

    Oh and ….your running out of time to get your mobile act together !

  4. 10″ MeeGo tablet on ARM environment – now that is something i want to see!!! :)

  5. N475 may be available today, but I don’t see it in any products being sold. This seems again like an incremental offering from Intel to keep people waiting for Medfield happy.

    I cannot understand why Intel is so lazy with Atom. They purposely delayed Pinetrail last year when it was already mature and the market was ready. Netbook sales last year worldwide hit 30 million, with 2010 projections at around 58 million. That’s a huge market for Intel to just sit on.

    A 32nm Atom would benefit netbooks not just in added battery time but offer more performance, especially in a dual-core configuration with a faster IGP. Medfield is scheduled for release in 2011, but I cannot see manufacturers jumping on board in earnest when even the current 45nm N470 is only being offered on a select few models.

  6. Well I don’t think that qualcomm would able to compete intel.It is not because of it’s product quality but because of it’s strong customer loyalty.As far as making chips for smartphones intel would again come out as the winning player.

    What are your views on this?

  7. Well Surely it would be interesting to see someone competing with Intel…


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