updated 07:55 am EST, Wed November 24, 2010
Intel Oak Trail said in mass production
Intel has started full production of its Oak Trail platform for Atom-based tablets, insiders said Wednesday. The first processor to ship in the Atom Z600 series should be a Z670 running at an unknown clock speed with one Oak Trail chipset, SM35, to keep it running. Price would be the focus as the combination would cost about $25 when using Intel's in-house MeeGo platform, Digitimes tips said, with Microsoft's relatively expensive Windows 7 adding more.
The chip designer has acknowledged that it may have a long struggle in tablets but might help it compete primarily on price where it hasn't had the option before. Current tablets like the HP Slate 500 cost as much as $800, partly through the prices of the Atom chips themselves but also the parts needed to make them acceptable for tablet use. The Slate 500 needs a relatively large battery and has a Broadcom accelerator to support HD video where the Z600's graphics are fast enough on their own.
ARM is currently dominant in tablets through the iPad, Galaxy Tab and most others. It hasn't worried about Intel's short-term plans as it still claims an edge in battery life and currently has a performance edge for video.
The first Oak Trail tablets should be made public at the CES expo in January and could include Acer's 10-inch tablet.