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Intel launches Atom power, devices due in June

Low-power chips and the relaunched UMPC form factor are the highlights of day one at the Intel Developer Forum
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Written by Rupert Goodwins on

Intel has launched its Atom range of processors at the Intel Developer Forum in Shanghai today.

The new chips, described by the company as entirely Core 2 Duo-compatible but with a tenth of the power requirements, will first reach the market in a fleet of partner mobile internet devices (MIDs) in late May or early June.

"This is as important to Intel as the launch of the Pentium in the mid-1990s", Intel chief executive Paul Otellini said in a video played during an IDF keynote.

Previously code-named Silverthorne, the Atom processor initially comes in five variants ranging from 800MHz to 1.86GHz, taking average power from 160mW to 220mW, and will typically be coupled with the Intel System Controller Hub to make the Centrino Atom platform. The MIDs, coming from companies such as Lenovo, Asus and Panasonic, will run Windows or Linux and are being promoted as the functional equivalent of a wireless-connected PC in pocket format.

The Atom is also behind two new product niches: netbooks and nettops. These are cost-reduced designs for more conventional notebook and desktop uses; Intel says a nettop motherboard should cost between 20 and 25 percent less than a standard desktop equivalent.

Other announcements included Intel anti-theft technology hardware and software designed to encrypt and protect data. Due for launch in late 2008 and initially intended for laptops, this is being developed in partnership with Fujistu Siemens, Macafee, Phoenix Technologies and others.  The heavily-trailed solid state drives were officially detailed for the first time, coming in 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch form factors, 32 to 160GB capacities and with 1,500G shock protection.

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