Intel's 2014 Android ambitions embrace 64-bit, more tablets

The chipmaker is still trying to make its mark in the Android mobile market. Not surprisingly, it intends to get more aggressive in the coming year.

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
2 min read
Dell's Venue 8 runs Android on top of an Intel Atom processor.  It starts at $180.
Dell's Venue 8 runs Android on top of an Intel Atom processor. It starts at $180. Dell

Intel has big Android ambitions for 2014. The chipmaker's points of focus for the year ahead include 64-bit processing power and more tablets.

While still overwhelmingly a purveyor of processors for Windows PCs, Intel knows Android is its ticket to a bigger share of the mobile market.

One way to make a mark is to go to 64-bit, a feature its processors already support on Windows.

"We're going to scale Android to 64-bit. We're going to allow it to scale from Atom [processors] all the way to the high-end of the Core processor family," said Kirk Skaugen, general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, speaking at the chipmaker's investor meeting in November.

It's not clear how soon Intel plans to make this happen in the real world, but there's certainly a race to get there.

After Apple shocked the mobile world in September with its 64-bit A7 processor, major suppliers of Android silicon were quick to chime in.

Samsung has talked about a two-step process for 64-bit and Qualcomm has said that a Snapdragon processor with 64-bit support will hit the market later in 2014.

Intel's other path to larger Android market share is getting its silicon into low-cost devices. The company is on the record saying that $100 devices are a target.

And just on Monday, Digitimes posted a list of Intel Android tablet specifications that includes "Bay Trail" Atom processor-based models ranging from $99 to $129 (7-inch ), from $149 to $199 (7- and 8-inch), and all the way up to 10-inch models priced at $249 and above.

Another part of the plan is to get Android running on devices that look like PCs -- and presumably computers powering big screens -- that corporate America can gravitate to.

"The strategy is very simple: we're going to support what the market desires," Skaugen said back in November.

Intel declined to comment on Android tablet specifications.