New Intel chip heading to tablets

Company is shipping a processor destined for tablets from Lenovo and Fujitsu, as it faces the daunting task of trying to compete effectively against ARM's chip design.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers

Intel said today it is shipping a new processor slated for tablets from Lenovo and Fujitsu among others, as the world's largest chipmaker tries to blunt an onslaught of designs based on competing silicon from ARM.

The Atom Z670 processor delivers improved video playback--up to 1080p--and longer battery life than previous Z series Atom chips, according to Intel. The chip will also allow smaller, thinner tablet designs owing to a 60 percent reduction in the size of the "die," or the raw piece of silicon that contains the integrated circuits.

In addition to Lenovo and Fujitsu, other device makers including Motion Computing, Razer, and Viliv will bring out tablets based on the Z670. Like other Atom chips, the Z670 supports Google Android, MeeGo, and Windows operating systems. "This unique flexibility delivers...more choice when it comes to tablets and hybrid designs that combine the best features of the netbook and tablet together," Intel said.

At the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, which begins tomorrow, the company will give a sneak peak of its next-generation Intel Atom platform codenamed "Cedar Trail."

Intel, to date, has been marginalized in the tablet market. Apple's popular iPad, Motorola's Xoom, Samsung's Galaxy Tab, and upcoming tablets from RIM and Hewlett-Packard all use processors based on a design from U.K.-based ARM. Intel has not been successful in the tablet market because, among other reasons, its processors don't meet the power efficiency requirements demanded by tablet and smartphone suppliers.