Even though Intel Corp. does have Atom processors for netbooks and ultra-portable applications as well as Atom Z600 (Moorestown) system-on-chip (SoC) for mobile Internet devices and high-end smartphones, the company believes that there is a place for another SoC – Oak Trail – designed exclusively for slates and ultra-portable netbooks.
Oak Trail is the codename for Intel’s upcoming Intel Atom SoC optimized for tablets and sleeker netbook form-factors due to its reduction in power consumption and thermals. Available to customers early 2011 (which means that it will take at least six months to actually integrate the device), Oak Trail will deliver up to a 50%t reduction in average power consumption with full HD-video playback and targeting a choice of operating systems including MeeGo, Windows 7 and Google Android or Chrome operating systems.
The war between Intel and ARM Holdings for ultra-portable electronics is intensifying these days. ARM has many design partners, which can easily design almost any SoC for a wide amount of applications; meanwhile, Intel is alone and has to develop relatively universal solutions that may be compatible with third party chips or maybe not. Partners of ARM already integrate baseband logic into their SoCs for mobile phones, whereas Intel, which has licensed Nokia Corp.’s mobile technology, will be able to do it only sometimes in 2011 or 2012.
Intel’s x86 solutions consume more power than ARM’s, but they can run almost all the software ever developed for Windows platform. On the other hand, it looks like software platforms like Android, Chrome and MeeGo will be able to run both on ARM and x86 eventually. As a result, software developed specifically for mobile gadgets will be hardware platform agnostic and ARM and Intel will have to offer something else in addition to performance and/or low power consumption.
Intel unveiled Oak Trail at Computex Taipei 2010 trade-show, but remained tight-lipped over any actual specifications.