Intel's new chip promises thin and mighty Windows 8 tablets

Intel has detailed its latest Atom processor, which supposedly allows for thin and light Windows 8 tablets with long battery life.

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Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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Andrew Lanxon
2 min read

Intel has excitedly chucked out a whole bunch of details about its new Atom mobile processor that will soon be turning up inside Windows 8-powered tablets. The good news is that the new silicon will allow for skinny, powerful slates with long battery life.

Intel's newest Atom chip -- known to its closest friends as the Atom Z2760 -- is a mobile-specific processor designed to run Windows RT for tablets. You'll therefore be seeing it turn up inside slates like the Samsung Ativ Smart PC, rather than the Smart PC Pro, which uses the same Intel chips you'd find in laptops.

It's a dual-core affair with a clock speed up to 1.8GHz. While that might make it seem less powerful than quad-core chips, it's important to bear in mind that not all apps are designed to take advantage of quad cores, so a fast speed like this can potentially give as good -- or even better -- performance.

Dual-core chips can also be less demanding on the battery -- something that should be helped by Intel's Burst Technology, which dynamically overclocks the chip. What that means is that the chip won't use all its power if it doesn't need to. It can run at lower power for web browsing and then fire up the big guns when you start playing high-definition video.

Intel reckons the chip can achieve up to 10 hours of HD video playback and up to three weeks on standby. Impressive claims, but those figures are hugely dependent on other factors such as screen size and brightness and, of course, the size of the battery. So we'll have to wait and see what the chip can offer.

Intel reckons the size of the processor will allow for tablets as slim as 8.5mm thick, which certainly qualifies as skinny. It also brings support for up to 8-megapixel cameras, Wi-Fi, 3G and even 4G, so it might not be long before a tablet is launched that will run on EE's brand new 4G network.

There's no word on when we'll see this new chip in action or what forms the resulting tablets will take -- that's entirely down to the manufacturers. It's at a similar point as when Intel first detailed specs for the ultrabook, and it didn't take long before companies started showing off their own slim and powerful laptops to fit the bill.

We're unlikely to hear anything official before Windows 8's launch in October but keep your eyes peeled for more information soon.

What do you think to Intel's new offering? Are you interested in thin and powerful Windows 8 tablets or are your sights firmly set on Apple's iPad? Let me know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.