Intel: Oak Trail tablets to get all-day battery life

The chip company has officially launched its Oak Trail platform, which it says will use over half the energy of the previous Pine Trail Atom chip

Intel has officially launched its x86 'Lincroft' chip for tablets, which it says will allow a day-long battery life.

The chip, which Intel erroneously added to its price list in March before removing it two days later, is now called the Atom Z670 microprocessor and was properly launched on Monday.

Lincroft was part of Intel's Oak Trail platform project, which was comprised of a single-core Atom CPU designed for netbooks and tablets, supported by the Whitney Point chipset. The Atom Z670 CPU is now single or dual core, while the Whitney Point chipset has been renamed the Intel SM35 Express chipset.

"We see the tablet model and the netbook market evolving," said Kevin O'Donovan, Intel's European marketing manager, in a press call on Monday. "We see a huge opportunity."

The Atom Z670 microprocessor will have a thermal design power (TDP) of 3W, said O'Donovan. The TDP is the maximum amount of power a chip draws when running applications, and plays a large part in determining how long the batteries last without recharging a device. Intel's previous generation of Atom processor, the N470, has a TDP of 6.5W.

"You'll start getting a whole day of battery life," said O'Donovan, who told ZDNet UK that Intel's Atom chip design had gone from a 65nm process down to a 45nm process, while the chip's sleep mode now switches off memory.

"Energy-efficient performance allows significant gains," O'Donovan added.

The Atom Z670 chip will support Google ChromeOS and Android Honeycomb, Microsoft Windows 7, and Nokia MeeGo operating systems. The 1.5GHz chip is expected to be used with Intel's SM35 Express chipset. The platform supports 1080HD and HDMI output.

Both the Z670 and its antecedent N470 are 45nm chips, although the N470 runs at the slightly faster speed of 1.66GHz.

We see the tablet model and the netbook market evolving. We see a huge opportunity.

– Kevin O'Donovan, Intel

Intel's presence in the tablet market needs improving and this design will help, O'Donovan told journalists.

"You won't find a lot of Intel-based tablets on the shelves nowadays, so that's our challenge," said O'Donovan.

A number of manufacturers have announced devices that will run on the Oak Trail platform, including Fujitsu, Lenovo, Samsung and Motion Computing.

One of Intel's major chip design competitors, ARM, provides designs for the Apple processor used in the iPad. Although Apple does not provide performance figures for the A5 ARM-based processor in the iPad 2, it is widely thought to operate with a TDP of around half a watt.

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