Intel formally entered the mobile device market on Monday, with the unveiling of its new system-on-a-chip platform for tablet computers, the Atom Z670 (formerly known by the code name "Oak Trail").
Over the years, Intel has been notably absent from the mobile market, presently dominated by UK-based chip designer ARM. The big stumbling block has creating processors that maintain performance without drawing too much power. Intel thinks it's found a power solution with the Z600 series. "2011 is about becoming relevant," Intel notebooks and tablets marketing manager Kevin O'Donovan told the BBC.
According to Intel's announcement, the 45-nanometer Atom Z670 processor boasts more than 35 design agreements and will begin appearing in devices beginning in May. A next-generation, 32-nanometer Atom processor is expected to ship by the end of the year.
Rachel Courtland, an unabashed astronomy aficionado, is a former senior associate editor at Spectrum. She now works in the editorial department at Nature. At Spectrum, she wrote about a variety of engineering efforts, including the quest for energy-producing fusion at the National Ignition Facility and the hunt for dark matter using an ultraquiet radio receiver. In 2014, she received a Neal Award for her feature on shrinking transistors and how the semiconductor industry talks about the challenge.