Intel has launched its Oak Trail processor as it tries to become ‘relevant’ in the tablet space, and catch up with rival firm, ARM Holdings, based in Cambridge, UK.Its new chip, the Z670, has been specifically designed for tablet applications and will support a number of different tablet operating sytems, including Windows 7, Android, MeeGo and Google’s latest OS.
Chief among its abilities will be improved battery power, which according to sources, will be enhanced further in follow on models to take tablet power consumption from 7.5 hours to potentially weeks and months.
The performance of playing high definition video has also been enhanced, says the company.
The new chip is aimed to be included in more than 35 new tablets from companies incuding Fujitsu and Lenovo, as well as less well known brands Motion Computing, Razer, Viliv and Evolve III, which will arrive on the market from next month.
The Oak Trail chip’s ability to support the power hungry Windows is one feather in its cap, as the chipset based on ARM’s designs, notably the Nvidia Tegra processor, is unable to run the platform.
Taiwan-based MSI also delayed the launch of its Windows 7 WindPad so that it could specifically run on Intel’s Atom based chip.
The chip is also likely to see the birth of a range of portable embedded designs such as mobile clinical assistants, ruggedised industrial tablets and portable point of sale systems, Intel said.
However, while Oak Trail tries to get a foothold in the tablet world, analysts Gartner forecasts that Apple will continue to beat the drum for its surging media tablet device for years.
Despite mounting competition from other operating systems, Apple will own almost half the media tablet market for the next three years, according to the firm, with 47 percent of the market in 2015.
Gartner says Apple’s re-invention of the tablet PC allows it to deliver a richer experience around content consumption, which is a strong pull for consumers.
Caronlina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said: “Seeing the response from both consumers and enterprises to the iPad, many vendors are trying to compete by first delivering on hardware and then trying to leverage the platform ecosystem.
“Many, however, are making the same mistake that was made in the first response wave to the iPhone, as they are prioritising hardware features over applications, services and overall user experience.
“Tablets will be much more dependent on the latter than smartphones have been, and the sooner vendors realise that the better chance they have to compete head-to-head with Apple,” she said.