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Intel launch Oak Trail tablet chip targeting Apple

Intel have released a new Oak Trail tablet chip which they hope will be used in tablets targeting the market leader, Apple.

Intel launched the new ATOM chip, codenamed Oak Trail which is designed specifically for tablet computers. They have also said that 35 tablet and hybrid computers will be using the chip in the near future.

The BBC reported, after speaking with Kevin O’Donovan, Intels marketing manager for notebooks and tablets You won’t find a lot of Intel based tablets on the shelves at the moment. 2011 is about becoming relevant.”

The first tablets with the new technology, based on 45nm architecture are due to launch in May. The tablet chip which is going to retail under the name Z670 will be taking its place as the next step in a long term ‘marathon’ that Intel sees itself undertaking. Paul Otellini has already issued a company wide memo saying that Intel would eventually triumph in the tablet and smartphone market, just as it has done with servers.

He said “Winning an architectural contest can take time. 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.”

Gartner Research director Michael Gartnenberg isn’t so positive and said “I think they have got some serious challenges. 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 PC’s Intel continue to struggle in the mobile market, while British firm ARM have been adopted by many of the industry leaders. In October, the company said that the iPad sales had ‘nibbled away’ at PC sales margins and had some effect on revenues.

Intel are also planning on creating a new smartphone processor later this year, although no specifications have been released. Intel attempted to buy their way into the mobile sector by purchasing Infineon for a cool $1.4 billion. This provides the baseband chip for the GSM version of the iPhone 4. Gartner have said that Infineon own about 5 percent of the market for mobile phone processors and communications chips.

Rumours have circulated for years that Apple would change the iPhone over to the Atom architecture, but this has failed to happen as Intel have been struggling with power consumption.

ARM Holdings said last November that they are not worried about Intel catching up in the tablet market. CEO Warren East even went on record saying “[Intel’s] Atom designs are just not good enough in terms of power consumption [right now]. Intel knows this.”

KitGuru says: You can never count out Intel, and perhaps this is the move they need to start getting market share. Time will tell.

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