Intel's New Dual-Core Atom Enables Netbooks to Withstand the Pressure of Tablets

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To give low cost netbook PCs a new lease on life in the wake of growing competition from tablets, PCWorld.com reports that Intel has started shipping its latest low-power, low-cost dual-core processor Atom for netbooks. Atom is part of Intel’s dual-core platform code-named Cedar Trail, which was introduced late September for desktops. It is designed to deliver longer battery life and improved performance for netbooks, said Intel. Starting January 2012, as per the PCWorld.com report, major PC manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba, Asus and Samsung will be producing netbooks with new Atom processor ICs.

More details on the latest version of Atom processor will be revealed at the forthcoming Consumer Electronics Show 2012 in Las Vegas next month. In the meantime, a PCWorld.com report indicates that new Atom will offer better graphics performance and consume much less power. As compared to the previous version, the latest Atom chip is expected to deliver 20 percent reduction in power consumption. As a result, Intel claims that the new chip will provide up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge.

While the Cedar Trail platform is an important step in Intel's efforts to improve netbooks, in the face of growing competition from tablets and Apple's iPad, the semiconductor giant is also promoting the upcoming Medfield or Clover Trail chips for tablets, wrote IDG News reporter Agam Shah.

Shah wrote that “Intel is retaining a positive outlook for netbooks, despite the threat from tablets.”  According to Intel, the shipment of netbooks is growing in developing countries like India and China, even though it’s popularity in shrinking in the U.S. and Western Europe, Shah wrote.

With support for high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) ports, the new Atom chips also enable netbooks to work with high-definition TVs (HDTVs), and incorporate wireless display technology. PCWorld.com reports that new Atom N2600 operates at 1.6 GHz and draws 3.5 Watts of power, and N2800 operates at 1.86 GHz with 6.5 W power consumption.


Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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