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Intel CEO: New dual-core Atom chip coming

Paul Otellini says the company will bring out the new processor sometime during the second quarter.

Intel will bring out a new dual-core Atom in the second quarter, CEO Paul Otellini said Tuesday during an earnings conference call.

Because Intel already has a dual-core Atom for small desktops, called Nettops, Otellini is likely referring to a dual-core design for the Netbook and small-device market. Currently, Intel offers only single-core Atom processors designated for Netbooks.

"The next innovation coming out on Atom is dual core, which comes out in the second quarter," Otellini said during the earnings call Tuesday afternoon.

"I still think there will be significant growth in the Netbook business year-over-year. Features and integration (of silicon) are the technical knobs to twist here," he said.

Going dual-core could benefit the Atom processor in a big way. The diminutive chip lags far behind Intel mainstream processors in performance. Though most of this is related to the chip's design--it's designed to be frugal with power consumption, not to be high performance--a dual-core design for Netbooks would undoubtedly boost performance for crucial operations like multitasking.