Intel has launched its first Atom processor for tablet computers.
Formerly codenamed Oak Trail, the new Atom Z670 made its début at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing this week.
The new processor contains no tablet-specific features, but targets the handheld market by combining low power consumption with a sophisticated feature set that supports advanced operating systems.
In principle, it’s a hybrid of two existing Atom platforms — the ultra-low-power Moorestown system-on-a-chip, designed for smartphones, and Intel’s current netbook platform, codenamed Pine Trail.
“We’ve combined both, to provide the ability to run Windows 7 on the same silicon that gives you the low power of Moorestown," explained Intel’s Kevin O’Donovan. "We've enabled the traditional x86 ecosystem with a much lower thermal design power.”
We believe Apple, Google, Microsoft and MeeGo will be the four big ecosystems of the future, and our challenge is to be the best in class for any of those
O’Donovan revealed that the Z670 has a TDP of just 3 watts – less than half that of current Pine Trail processors.
But he admitted that power consumption is affected by Oak Trail’s use of a 45nm fabrication process, rather than a 32nm one as used by Intel’s mainstream processors.
“In the ideal world, every piece of silicon would be the latest and greatest," he said. "Obviously our flagship products have been 32nm for over a year, and we are accelerating our ability to have all our product lines using the latest process technology. That’s where we want to be, and we will be there in the next few years.”
Despite the emphasis on Windows 7, O’Donovan noted that the Z670 could also run MeeGo, Google’s Chrome OS and x86-compatible versions of Android.
“OEMs want one platform that will run any OS,” he explained. “We believe Apple, Google, Microsoft and MeeGo will be the four big ecosystems of the future, and our challenge is to be the best in class for any of those.”
The first tablets based on the Atom Z670 are expected during the second quarter of 2011.
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk