updated 09:35 am EDT, Wed May 12, 2010
Intel's Eden hints at dual-core x86 tablets
Intel at its Investor Meeting on Tuesday pledged itself to supporting Atom-based, touch-only tablets in the future. Client VP Mooly Eden promised that the first true Intel-based tablets would appear at the Computex expo in early June and held up what appeared to be a reference tablet design. He was adamant that Intel was committed to the category largely dominated today by the ARM-based iPad.
"People ask me, are you serious about trying to participate in the tablet market? The answer is yes," Eden said.
He added that future x86-running tablets could also be substantially faster as they could support the new dual-core Atom N500 destined for netbooks. The chip would provide a major speed increase for operating systems that support multitasking, such as Windows 7.
Intel has had a troubled relationship with tablets even this year as its Atom processors are only now becoming power-efficient enough to drive the thin devices. The mobile Internet device (MID) and UMPC categories have largely failed to take off due to the bulky designs and short battery lives used by older Atom chips. HP may have even killed its Windows 7 slate as its Atom N270's 5 hours of battery life and possibly sluggish performance have left it fighting to keep up with the 10-hour and overall more responsive Apple iPad.
Intel expects the tablet market to grow rapidly and to reach 50 to 60 million units per year within the next few years, but most of the tablets shipping in 2010 are believed to be using ARM rather than Atom. HP may have even defected as the webOS-based Hurricane tablet could be the Windows slate's replacement. [via CNET]