Intel Scores One for Tablet Usability


Tablets have already become part of consumer culture. Though not a ubiquitous technology quite yet, consumers are readily warming to the idea of a device with a screen bigger than their smartphone, yet smaller than their laptop. As the idea of the tablet gains momentum, behind-the-scenes players that shape the devices’ user experience will have a hand in their ultimate success.

Yesterday, Intel,, unveiled its new Intel Atom platform, formerly codenamed “Oak Trail.” The platform is designed to bring the tablet user experience to a new level. The company says beginning in May and continuing throughout 2011, more than 35 tablets and other connected devices, such as netbooks, will be based on Oak Trail.

Doug Davis, vice president and general manager of the netbook and tablet group at Intel, says Oak Trail will deliver architectural enhancements for longer battery life and greater performance. For instance, the Intel Atom processor Z670, which is part of the new platform, will offer improved video playback and faster Internet browsing. Oak Trail will also support 1080p video and Adobe Flash, contributing to a rich media experience for end-users.

The Z670 processor will support applications on multiple operating systems, such as Android and Windows. And because the processor is 60% smaller than previous generations, Intel says the platform helps deliver smaller, thinner devices. New technology and a lower-power design limit the amount of power consumption—a huge plus for today’s society, which requires constant access on the go.

These improvements will offer benefits beyond consumers. Intel says the platform is also suited for a range of portable embedded designs such as mobile clinical assistants, ruggedized industrial tablets, and portable point-of-sale systems. Because the platform offers reliable, all-day battery life, industries can harness tablet devices’ potential for portable efficiency in a small package.

Intel says more innovation is to follow. Its next-generation 32nm Intel Atom platform—codenamed “Cedar Trail”—will support Blu-ray 2.0, a dedicated media engine for full 1080p playback, and additional digital display options including HDMI output and DisplayPort. Currently in the “sampling” stage, the Cedar Trail platform is due to hit the market in the second half of 2011.

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