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