Intel's Clover Trail power software still a no-show; tablet delays likely

Intel's Clover Trail power software still a no-show; tablet delays likely

Summary: Intel's new Clover Trail Z2760 Atom processors promise to bring standby battery life measured in weeks to tablets, but delays in getting the power management software approved by Microsoft could mean that tablets based on this hardware may be delayed.

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A report suggests that Intel has yet to deliver the power management software for its Clover Trail processors to Microsoft, and this is likely to delay the release of Windows-powered tablets running this new, low-power hardware platform.

Businessweek cited a person "who asked not to be named," claiming that the holdup means that Microsoft has not yet approved any tablets featuring the Clover Trail low-power silicon. Clover Trail, also known as Atom Z2760, is a 1.8GHz dual-core x86 CPU built using Intel's 32-nanometer high-k process. The primary feature that it brings to the table is better battery life.

Tablets based on Clover Trail are likely to be the closest -- in terms of form factor and price --  to that of iPad, making the platform a vital part of the Microsoft/Intel response to Apple's dominance in this market. Apple currently commands 70 percent of the tablet market with the iPad.

Several OEMs have already announced hardware based around the Clover Trail hardware -- including the Asus Vivo Tab, HP Envy X2 ad the Acer Iconia W510 -- but if there is a delay in Microsoft approving the power management software drivers then these devices could be a no-show come the official launch of Windows 8 later this month.

Clover Trail introduces two new power management states, called S0i1 and S0i3. S0i1 is described as an "active" sleep state that kicks in when the user stops using the device but hasn't yet put it to sleep, while the S0i3 sleep state is called a "connected" sleep state and this allows the device to enter a state where it consume microwatts of power but can still wake up in a matter of milliseconds.

These new sleep states mean that the standby battery life of Z2760-powered hardware can be as much as three weeks.

We'll see in a few weeks if this delay in getting the power management drivers to Microsoft will result in delays in Clover Trail based hardware being released. 

Image source: Intel.

Topics: Hardware, Intel, Tablets, Windows

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11 comments
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  • A.K.H.

    Do you think they are going to tell you anything. If so why?
    sarai1313@...
  • You make it sound like this is some sort of advance...

    Apple's iPads have had standby battery life measured in weeks for several years now.
    davidlfoster
    • Not impressed with iPad battery life

      After all, I had calculators that lasted months or years and that was decades ago.

      What? iPad can do more than those calculators?

      Ding ding ding, we have our answer. iPad can't run the world's best OS. Clover Trail can.
      toddbottom3
      • Funny

        It is indeed funny to see people comparing iPad to x86 windows tablets. I really wonder if they have ever used a serious computing device to, say, use Word to write anything longer than 10 words, Excel to crunch a few numbers etc. :)
        amerd@...
    • If you don't use

      It, it could indeed be weeks before the battery is dead. My usage at the most, gives me about 8 hours.
      sjaak327
  • Prive vs. performance

    "Tablets based on Clover Trail are likely to be the closest -- in terms of form factor and price -- to that of iPad, making the platform a vital part of the Microsoft/Intel response to Apple's dominance in this market."

    Of course, since it's burdened with a Windows OS, a tablet based on Clover Trail is more likely to perform like a low-end Chinese $80 Android tablet than it is like an iPad. But that's the consumer's choice: Learn about products before making a buying decision, or go to Best Buy and let the salesman tell you a glowing fantasy story about whatever will net him the biggest commission.
    Rich Tietjens
    • Price vs Performance

      Re the comment: "Of course, since it's burdened with a Windows OS, a tablet based on Clover Trail is more likely to perform like a low-end Chinese $80 Android tablet than it is like an iPad."

      From the demo videos e.g. of the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet2, the performance of both the hardware and Windows 8 looks to be much faster than my iPad1, so I do not think there is any evidence to justify your comment. The Lenovo Clover Trail tablets will support USB2 devices and CF storage cards, plus HDMI monitor outputs. These things are lacking on any iPad. Also it is likely that there will be OS support from Microsoft for these tablets for at least the next 5 years. This compares with Apple's record of dropping software support for the iPad1 (no OS6 update) after just 2 years.

      I own an iPad1. Will I buy an iPad2 or iPad3? No, mainly for the reasons stated above. Will I buy a Windows 8 tablet running the windows desktop and my current PC applications.? Probably, yes.
      rob.sherratt@...
  • We just can hope..

    that Wintel tablets will fail! No more monopoly repressions....
    Watchmen247
    • Look before you leap

      Who has a monopoly on tablets right now?
      What do you think would happen if Windows completely went away today?

      I want windows to find success in phones/tablets, because it will put pressure on Apple/Android to further innovate.

      I want Android to make the leap to desktop operating systems as it will add pressure to Microsoft/Apple to make better operating systems there.

      I want ARM cpus to be successful as x86... again competition and choice.


      Just to point out that when you speak for "we" you are not speaking for me.
      Emacho
  • Another in a series of baseless articles

    Where are your facts? This like so many of your articles is nothing but speculation at best and unsubstantiated.
    primartcloud
  • What, me hurry?

    Microsoft's own Windows 8 tablet is not scheduled for release until January 2013, and in any case is not dependent on Clover Trail; it uses a Core i5.

    It'll be interesting to see whether any of the Clover Trail-based tablets get approved in time for the Winter Shopping Festival.
    Robert Hahn