Otellini: Intel's new tablet chip gaining momentum

Intel has over 100 design wins for its Oak Trail tablet chip.

More than 100 tablets using Intel's Oak Trail chips are being designed and some will start shipping in the first half of this year, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said Wednesday at CES.

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Many of those low-power tablets will be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Otellini said at a press conference ahead of the show. The show officially begins Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Oak Trail tablets are being introduced as the PC landscape changes, Otellini said. Many new Internet and mobile features are on tap for users and devices such as tablets enable them, Otellini said.

Intel last year announced the Oak Trail specifically for tablets, as sales of Apple's iPad were exploding. Intel is also trying to put its chip in other products such as set-top boxes and cars as it tries to enter new markets, Otellini said. The company has worked closely with Microsoft on chips for PCs and tablets.

Some companies have already shown tablets with Oak Trail chips. Motion Computing on Tuesday showed the CL900 tablet, which runs the Windows 7 OS. The tablet is able to play back 1080p video, and runs up to eight hours with the battery charged.

Intel is currently making a strong push for its presence to be felt in the tablet market where it trails Arm, whose processors go into most tablets that ship today. The iPad and new tablets announced by companies including Lenovo and Asus at CES use Arm processors.

Intel is also trying to make inroads in smartphones and Otellini said that more smartphone announcements will be made at the Mobile World Congress in February in Barcelona.

Intel last year announced the Moorestown chip, which is based on an Atom processor core, for high-end smartphones. However, no Intel-based smartphones are currently available commercially.

The company hopes to reach consumer smartphones with the upcoming Medfield chip, which is currently being tested, and could ship to phone makers this year.

Otellini at the press conference also officially announced 20 next-generation Core i3, i5 and i7 processors for laptops and desktops. The processors, based on the latest Sandy Bridge platform, include many new features such as integration of the graphics processor and media engine to boost graphics performance while reducing power consumption.

The company has more than 500 laptop and desktop designs with the new Sandy Bridge processors, Otellini said. Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo have already announced PCs based on Sandy Bridge chips. Dell CEO Michael Dell in November said some that companies were waiting for the Sandy Bridge chips to refresh client PCs.

Sandy Bridge chips allow for faster graphics and application performance, Otellini said. Graphics performance is 42 percent faster compared to previous generation of Intel chips, according to an Intel fact sheet. In application performance, the chips are up to 69 percent faster than predecessors, said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager for the PC client group. The chips are up to 800 percent faster than Core 2 Duo chips that are 3 years old.

The high levels of integration of the graphics engine also helps save power and transcode video in a faster and seamless way, Eden said. Specialized accelerators help convert high-definition video into a format ideal for smartphones in a matter of seconds.

The graphics features in the new Core chips also include Intel Insider, which provides a security layer for the capability to stream 1080p movie securely over the Internet. The company has also integrated technology to enhance 3D and high-definition video.

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