Intel makes Oak Trail official; 35 tablets and hybrids "in the works"

Intel makes Oak Trail official; 35 tablets and hybrids "in the works"

Summary: Intel announced its Oak Trail platform for tablets on the eve of spring IDF in Beijing. The company said that 35 tablet and hybrid designs using Oak Trail are "in the works" and will ship beginning next month.

SHARE:

As expected, Intel announced its Oak Trail platform for tablets on the eve of its spring Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing this week. The company said that 35 tablet and hybrid designs using Oak Trail are "in the works" and will ship beginning next month.

The Oak Trail platform is a two-chip solution that includes the Atom Z-series processor and a support chip, the SM35 Express Chipset. The Atom Z670 is a 1.5GHz single-core (two threads) processor designed for tablets. The platform supports Android, Windows and Intel's MeeGo operating system. Fujitsu, Lenovo and Motion Computing are among the companies developing Oak Trail devices. The press images also show two hybrid devices with keyboards, the Asus Eee Pad Slider and Samsung Gloria, using the Atom Z670 processor. Intel is also pushing Oak Trail--including a second Z-series processor, the 1.2GHz Atom Z650--for devices used in industrial, medical and retail applications.

The Z-series is smaller and uses less power than previous Atom processors, which makes it better-suited for slate-style tablets without cooling fans. It also has a hardware video decoder that can playback 1080p HD video, HDMI-out and the ability to play Adobe Flash content.

Oak Trail is manufactured using Intel's older 45nm process technology while Intel's laptop, desktop and server processors are all manufactured at 32nm. Later this year Intel will introduce a new Atom low-power platform, Cedar Trail, based on its 32nm technology. This platform, however, will be targeted at netbooks, entry-level desktops and all-in-ones. Cedar Trail will add support for Blu-ray 2.0, a new 1080p video engine, both HDMI and DisplayPort, and Intel technologies such as Wireless Display.

Oak Trail moves Intel a step closer to becoming a player in mobile devices, but it faces tough competition. In this category Intel is up against a long list of incumbents that design application processors based on the ARM instruction set and architecture including Broadcom, Marvell, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Samsung. It also faces competition from an old x86 rival, AMD, which is apparently finding a home for its low-power C-Series APU (Accelerated processing Unit) in hybrids such as the Acer Iconia W500. There are also rumors that AMD is working on adding support for Android.

When we get more details on Oak Trail devices--hopefully at the Computex trade show in June, if not sooner--it will be easier to tell how much progress Intel is really making in this space.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Intel, Mobility, Processors, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

11 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Problem is, if you use even slightly more power, or it costs even slightly

    more, it is a non-starter. x86 means almost nothing for tablets and smart phones. On the contrary, all major OEM have been using Arm and are quite comfortable, and there is a very good variety of system-on-chip solutions. x86 is more of a liability.
    DonnieBoy
    • Time will tell.

      @DonnieBoy
      DevGuy_z
    • RE: Intel makes Oak Trail official; 35 tablets and hybrids

      @DonnieBoy Please read the story again, carefully. The important word is "rival" not "x86".
      PCcritic
      • The point is, for tablets and phones, x86 does not matter, what matters is

        power consumption and price. In fact, since manufacturers are used to using Arm for tablets and phones, x86 is a handicap, not an advantage of any kind whatsoever.

        Now, they do mention competition from x86 rival AMD, but, that is a side point.
        DonnieBoy
    • RE: Intel makes Oak Trail official; 35 tablets and hybrids

      @DonnieBoy
      I agree, who wants to continue dragging along the old MS baggage? I can see MS pressurising manufacturers to load Windows on tablet if it runs X86. Quick way to get rid of MS baggage is to run ARM.... till MS release ARM OS, which will be too little too late!
      Johan Safari
      • RE: Intel makes Oak Trail official; 35 tablets and hybrids

        @Johan Safari

        It's no big deal, Windows 8 is right around the corner and will be able to run on anything. Apple will be stuck in their own little dictatorshi* and Google will still have their share of the glory although in my opinion their products look bland. It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the future, at least the competition is heating up and getting these big players to start hustling.

        @DonnieBoy
        You crack me up. You appear to be quite the lonely man. You remind me of Milton from Office Space but with more of an inferiority complex.
        audidiablo
    • RE: Intel makes Oak Trail official; 35 tablets and hybrids

      @DonnieBoy
      Not so, as there are a lot of markets out there. E.g. Motion Computing is targeting industrial applications. Ruggedized, but it will cost 30% more and have slightly less battery life. But it can take a serious drop, dust, some moisture, and can run Windows: there are many and profitable markets out there for this and other applications not served by the other tablets.
      batpox
  • "In the works"

    Means we have no clue what we are going to do.
    james347
  • "In the works" a phrase meaning vaporware

    Pagan jim
    anonymous
  • RE: Intel makes Oak Trail official; 35 tablets and hybrids

    There is also no comment on whether Intel has an optimised driver; the official Intel driver for the older Z550 Atom (Poulsbo) chip still cannot deliver full OpenGL even some 3 or so years since the Z550 was released (it is possible to get near full support using the IEGD driver which needs to be "built" from a developers' package - something your average tablet buying consumer is not going to do). Perhaps more importantly, can the Intel chip deliver graphics performance for games? The Z550 could barely play games from the early 2000's (eg Halo 1 runs like a Powerpoint 2000 slideshow, an aging RPG like Morrowind struggles to get above 10 frames/sec!). Gaming is a big activity on the iPhone and iPad but this is an area Intel has not historically prioritised
    bmerM
    • RE: Intel makes Oak Trail official; 35 tablets and hybrids

      @bmerM
      HALO: POWERPOINT. NEW from Bungee! 3rd quarter, '11.
      Sounds like fun. That would make meetings a tad bit more interesting, at least. :)
      tkeller@...