Even though all the slates that are announced so far are based on various ARM-based system-on-chips, Intel Corp. claims that its tablet design momentum is very strong. The company expects slates from various companies based on Intel's SoCs to hit the market in the future, but at present the company does not reveal when that happens.
"We are deeply engaged with a number of partners to bring to market innovative tablet solutions. Our design win momentum is very strong, and in the coming months and quarters, you will see Intel solutions that run on Windows, Android and MeeGo operating systems across a variety of form factors and price points," said Paul Otellini, chief executive of Intel, during the quarterly conference call with financial analysts.
So far only HP and a small company called CTL have confirmed their slates based on Intel Atom-based SoCs or microprocessors. Both tablets will use Microsoft Windows 7 operating system and will belong to the so-called powerful slate-type personal computers with enhanced feature-set and capabilities.
At present, according to some reports, Intel's SoC have a number of disadvantages compared to ARM-based system-on-chip products. The Atom core-powered devices consume more power, heat more and cost more. As a result, not a lot of manufacturers jump on Intel-based tablet bandwagon.
Another problem is that Intel's Atom Z600 (Moorestown) SoC cannot actually run Windows 7, which greatly reduces attractiveness of the platform among those manufacturers, whose products can afford higher price and higher power consumption. Intel's code-named Oak Trail SoC, which is due to be released in late 2010 or early 2011, will support Windows 7, but the big question is whether it will address energy- and heat-related issues. Intel is also working on Medfield system-on-chip that will consume much less than Moorestown and which may easily power Android- or MeeGo-based devices. Unfortunately, the next-generation SoC will be available only sometimes next year.
"We fully expect to participate broadly and profitably in this category, and that in the end, the tablet category will be additive to our bottom line and not take away from it," added Mr. Otellini.