updated 01:50 pm EST, Wed December 8, 2010
Intel says smartphone Atom not ready until 2011
Intel chief Paul Otellini on Wednesday revealed that smartphones running its processors won't arrive until the second half of 2011. After his company promised phones might ship as soon as early 2011 with the Atom Z600, the CEO told those at a Barclays conference that the true smartphone-class chips, codenamed Medfield, is still having its bugs worked out and won't be ready for most of next year.
The news is a setback for Intel's mobile aims. It has been aware that it faced a long-term battle but has been increasingly keen to avoid being locked out of the smartphone arena, where ARM is virtually the only current option. Current Atom processors often consume too much power and space to be useful for phones and are currently relegated to notebooks and some tablets.
In the interim, Intel was mostly counting on a wave of tablets using its Oak Trail platform to keep its mobile business active. About 35 companies were using the new platform in the first half of 2011 or later, Otellini said. No customers were named, but ASUS, Dell and others are rumored to be involved. The CEO did say the devices wouldn't just be limited to Windows 7 or Intel's own MeeGo and would use Android 3.0 as well.
Most of the tablets launching in 2011 are expected to use ARM processors, since they typically use less space and power than Atom chips and should have faster video performance. Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tab both use the design and can play 720p video but still last for hours more on battery than current Intel hardware.