Intel launches Oak Trail tablet chip in attempt to catch iPad

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
The latest leg in Intel's 'mobile marathon' has come in the form of the newly launched Oak Trail tablet chip from the company as it attempts to catch the current leader, Apple.



Intel formally launched the new Atom chip, codenamed Oak Trail, which is built specifically for tablet computers on Monday, alongside the news that 35 tablet and "hybrid" computers are slated to make use of the chip, the Associated Press reports.



"You won't find a lot of Intel based tablets on the shelves at the moment," the BBC reported Kevin O'Donovan, Intel's marketing manager for notebooks and tablets, as saying. "2011 is about becoming relevant."



The first tablets implementing the new 45nm-process chip are expected to launch in May.



The tablet chip, which will retail under the name Z670, takes its place as the next step in a long-term "marathon" that Intel sees itself running. Last fall, CEO Paul Otellini reassured employees in a company-wide memo that Intel would eventually triumph in the tablet and smartphone markets, just as it did with servers.



"Winning an architectural contest can take time?," said Otellini. ?I am also very optimistic about our opportunity in tablets and smartphones, even though we are not first to market with a solution. Ultimately, we can and will lead.?



However, some industry watchers are skeptical about Intel's late arrival to the market.



"I think they have got some serious challenges," said Gartner research director Michael Gartenberg. "They continue to beat the drum of performance, but in reality, I don't think there are a lot of people running around complaining about how slow their tablets are. They seem to be quite happy with the Arm architecture."



Despite having an 80 percent market share of laptops and desktop PCs, Intel has struggled with its mobile offerings. In October, the company conceded that sales of the iPad had "nibbled away" at PC sales margins and had had some effect on revenues.



The world's largest chipmaker also indicated plans to release a smartphone processor later this year, though it has yet to release specifications. Intel attempted to buy its way into mobile with its $1.4 billion purchase of German chipmaker Infineon, which provides the baseband chip for the GSM version of the iPhone 4. According to Gartner, Infineon owned about 5 percent of the market for mobile phone processors and communications chips.



For years, rumors suggested that Apple would transition the iPhone to the Atom architecture, but the change failed to materialize as Intel struggled with managing power consumption.



Rival chip designer ARM Holdings went on record last November saying it is not worried about Intel catching up in the tablet market. ?[Intel's] Atom designs are just not good enough in terms of power consumption [right now]. Intel knows this,? said CEO Warren East.



Buoyed by runaway sales of the iPhone and iPad, ARM announced record revenue and earnings last quarter. ARM provides processor designs for Apple's A5 System on a Chip, which powers the iPad 2 and is expected to make its way into the next-generation iPhone later this year.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    Intel is going about this the wrong way. The reason they were able to win in all the other areas is because people knew how to develop for x86. The legacy applications built on x86 gave Intel a huge edge.



    In mobile, its the complete opposite. Legacy code (and more relevantly, instruction sets) are anathema, because battery life, and not processing power, is king in this space.



    If Intel really wants to become relevant, they need to invest a ton of money developing better battery technology, so the inefficient power consumption of x86 chips, vis a vis ARM chips, is not relevant anymore. Only after Intel is able to move the discussion away from battery life, to speed and performance, will x86 even stand a chance against ARM.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    I'm all for Intel attempting to win through improvements in performance, rather than simply walking into the room and saying, "we're Intel, so we win." if they can bring the silicon to beat ARM-based processors, then bring it on! If they can't, they still get to sell lots of these things to their partners in mediocrity, namely Dell, Acer, and Asus netbooks.
  • Reply 3 of 50
    Love these Intel code names. "Oak Trail"? What are they selling? Granola bars?
  • Reply 4 of 50
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    This is great news, since it will allow to make a truly portable Mac. I mean, 400 to 600 g. 7 inches.
  • Reply 5 of 50
    Any 1000 pieces price target available?
  • Reply 6 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Love these Intel code names. "Oak Trail"? What are they selling? Granola bars?



    Gives a whole new meaning to the insult "Wood Pc".
  • Reply 7 of 50
    bertpbertp Posts: 274member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post


    In mobile, its the complete opposite. Legacy code (and more relevantly, instruction sets) are anathema, because battery life, and not processing power, is king in this space.



    ARM is, in fact, an ISA albeit an advanced reduced ISA:



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture
  • Reply 8 of 50
    I don't see why Intel is trying to catch Apple, useful click bait maybe but seriously they are trying catch ARM.



    The only far flung notion is that either Apple would switch to Intel, or if Apple stays massively dominant so Intel customers don't really buy much volume. They are unlikely to get Apple's buy as Apple is designing custom silicon which they could not do with an Intel chip. As for everyone else, well Intel has to compete against other shelf variants of ARM chips making volumes even smaller.



    One wonders if Intel can justify in the long haul continued dollars thrown at something that may never yield volume sales and return.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,293member
    Intel is DOA when it comes to this space and they know it. They blew it by selling off XScale and they will never overtake the ARM stronghold in this area.



    Intel is feeling it on all fronts with AMD and ARM and they are crapping themselves knowing their overly split stock isn't going to boom ever again.



    They could break up Intel into separate branches ala IBM but I doubt they'll ever do that.
  • Reply 10 of 50
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    Quote:

    For years, rumors suggested that Apple would transition the iPhone to the Atom architecture, but the change failed to materialize as Intel struggled with managing power consumption.



    I wonder if history will reveal Jobs and company tried diligently for Intel to build such a chip previously without success for the product that would eventually become the iPad??
  • Reply 11 of 50
    hattighattig Posts: 830member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lord anubis View Post


    Any 1000 pieces price target available?



    I've seen $75 quoted elsewhere for the Atom + southbridge (seriously, they haven't integrated the I/O yet). Of course it will be cheaper in actual use - probably $30 to $40.



    Still a lot more than a $25 A5 (and the A5 includes the RAM too).



    This 3W CPU+GPU, + ?W I/O hub is going to be more expensive, more power hungry, and have a bigger footprint than virtually any ARM solution out there today. All it has on its side is x86 and Windows 7 - and that's hardly a good thing for a tablet. But there will be people that will buy it, and keep on convincing themselves its what they want and it's good.



    It's also highly likely that the GPU on the A5 is far faster than the previous generation GMA 600 on the Atom. This is probably just an SGX535 like the GMA 500. So overall performance will be better on the A5. Never mind dual 1GHz cores versus a single 1.5GHz x86 core.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    rabbit_coachrabbit_coach Posts: 1,114member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Love these Intel code names. "Oak Trail"? What are they selling? Granola bars?







    Glad to hear somebody else finds this code name funny. Thought it was just my lack of proper english.



    Well anyway, the style Otellini sounds and talks, make me think, that they are not going to catch up with ARM processors so soon. unless ARM stops all R&D facilities.\
  • Reply 13 of 50
    myapplelovemyapplelove Posts: 1,515member
    oh it's an atom?



    Should have put that in the thread title I wouldn't have bothered reading the article then.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    So Intel boasts about having a monopoly in the desktop/notebook segment, brag about how they're going to use that monopoly to give them a monopoly in the mobile segment, and no-one is questioning? Aren't there laws to prevent such actions?
  • Reply 15 of 50
    maccherrymaccherry Posts: 924member
    We all know that Apple pulled a fast one on the industry. The ipad is changing everything especially from a business model POV.

    Look, intel and MS are sh**** their under ware right know. The ipad is chipping into their space. The ipad doesn't need intel's chips nor does it need windows for the basics that MOST people do on a pc.

    No need for Nortons utility, invasive updates and other crap associated with a windows machine.

    And what OS would be running on their new atom chip? A certain variant of windows.And windows is a beast of an OS that needs lots of ram, fast front side bus and god chip speed. So you ain't going to get the FULL WINDOWS running properly on some low powered tablet cause you're just asking for performance issues. And guess what? Who the hell needs windows anyway. Seriously folks, the average person has entered a paradigm shift thanks to Apple's ipad. They turn it on and they go go gadget!
  • Reply 16 of 50
    frugalityfrugality Posts: 410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Love these Intel code names. "Oak Trail"? What are they selling? Granola bars?



    I find that amusing, too. Maybe they are going for the Sierra Club/Greenpeace crowd?



    "Fallen log" may be more appropriate.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,143member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post


    Intel is going about this the wrong way. The reason they were able to win in all the other areas is because people knew how to develop for x86. The legacy applications built on x86 gave Intel a huge edge.



    In mobile, its the complete opposite. Legacy code (and more relevantly, instruction sets) are anathema, because battery life, and not processing power, is king in this space.



    If Intel really wants to become relevant, they need to invest a ton of money developing better battery technology, so the inefficient power consumption of x86 chips, vis a vis ARM chips, is not relevant anymore. Only after Intel is able to move the discussion away from battery life, to speed and performance, will x86 even stand a chance against ARM.



    If Intel develops better battery technology others will either copy or develop similar technology and then the competitors chip products with better power efficiency will be even further ahead. Intel needs to make more power efficient chips if they want to be relevant in the mobile marketplace.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    d-ranged-range Posts: 396member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zunx View Post


    This is great news, since it will allow to make a truly portable Mac. I mean, 400 to 600 g. 7 inches.



    An full-blown OS X version running on ARM would be much more interesting if that's what you are after. If Apple were interested in a true OS X netbook (which they aren't), they'd built one long ago, based on the older Atoms.



    If the previous Atom updates tell us anything, this new Oak Trail generation of Atoms is going to be just as slow as the previous ones, just a little bit more power efficient, but still nowhere near the power efficiency of ARM SoC's. Cortex-A9 based chips have already overtaken Atom in terms of performance (except for some use cases), and the speed they at which they are developing doesn't bode well for Atom.



    I've said it all along by the way: the Atom has been a huge success and a great accomplishment on Intels behalf. Just not because of the technology, but because they managed to re-package 5 to 10 year old technology under a spiffy name that sounds 'new' and 'cool', and got everyone to buy into it.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Love these Intel code names. "Oak Trail"? What are they selling? Granola bars?



    Most names from intel chips are biblical references or places and things out of the holy land...
  • Reply 20 of 50
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post


    So Intel boasts about having a monopoly in the desktop/notebook segment, brag about how they're going to use that monopoly to give them a monopoly in the mobile segment, and no-one is questioning? Aren't there laws to prevent such actions?



    No, there aren't.



    There are laws against doing certain things to leverage your monopoly in one area to get into another area, but simply saying "we have a monopoly in A and we're going to take over B" isn't illegal.
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