updated 06:55 pm EDT, Thu November 4, 2010
ARM CEO not worried about Intel tablets
Intel's Oak Trail platform for tablets shouldn't pose any threat to the iPad or other ARM-based tablets, ARM's own CEO Warren East said today. The Atom chips reaching tablets next year would still be poor as they used too much power, he told the FT. ARM has developed a reputation for power efficiency and is key to Apple getting over 10 hours and even Samsung's smaller Galaxy Tab getting seven, on par with a much thicker and heavier netbook.
"Atom designs are just not good enough in terms of power consumption," East said. "Intel knows this."
Oak Trail was designed from the start for tablets, set-top boxes and in some cases smartphones. Intel has been counting on its all-in-one design, which includes graphics and most other controllers on one chip, to resurrect ambitions in mobile that had fallen apart after the Mobile Internet Device (MID) category was virtually abandoned. It should consume about half as much power on average and support hardware-accelerated HD video whose absence has kept the platform back.
The HP Slate 500 has been emblematic of Intel's problems. Partly as it uses an older Atom chip, the Slate gets just half the battery life of an iPad and needs a special Broadcom accelerator to properly play HD video.
East also noted that the tablet market was likely to get much more active. While very few tablets are on the market, he saw the CES show in January bringing a large number of new tablets. Optimism also guided the outlook as he expected between 30 million to 60 million tablets to ship just in 2011, with his unofficial estimate at the "higher end of that range." Apple's current monopoly of tablets should lead most of those models to be iPads.