The chip giant unveiled the long awaited Atom Wednesday at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Shanghai China.
Solution providers said Atom could pave the way for a flood of handhelds similar to Samsung's Q1 Ultra Premium, which offers full PC functionality, but can fit in your shirt pocket.
The problem with many of the current crop of pocket wireless devices is they have been high priced and have limited battery life. Intel is promising that the new Atom processor, formerly code named Silverthorne, will provide a full internet experience with long battery life at lower price points. Intel said computer makers will begin shipping the new mobile devices based on Atom starting this summer.
The Intel Atom processor, has a thermal design power range of 0.65 to 2.4 watts compared with 35 watts of power for today's typical laptop.
"This is a dramatic breakthrough in pocket wireless device technology," said Tom Derosier, one of the owners of CPU Guys, a Hanson, Mass. system builder. "This is getting us closer to the unwired world."
Derosier predicted that Atom will spark a whole new class of pocket wireless devices. "Forget about a laptop, you're going to have the same amount of power in a pocket device in very short order," he said. "To get a chip to run at 3 watts at those speeds is amazing."
Derosier said limited battery life on pocket devices should no longer be an issue as a result of the Atom processor.
Glen Coffield, president of Smart Guys Computers, an Orlando, Fla.-based retail chain with six stores in central Florida, however, predicted that the new wave of pocket devices based on Atom are going to be a hard sell in the current sagging economy.
"If this economy stays in the same place it is now then who cares?" asked Coffield. "Consumers don't have any money right now. One of the big stumbling blocks will be the lack of discretionary spending."
"Talk to me about how we are going to improve profitability of what we are selling right now," he said. "If there is no money in a product I could care less. I am not a scientist. I'm a businessman. Talk to me how to make profits on the current processor lineup."
Coffield said he is preparing to attend the Intel Solutions Summit next week where he will focus on building relationships with the next generation Intel channel team.
Just last month, Intel confirmed that four key North American channel executives at Intel have accepted early retirement packages. The four departing executives are Nick Davison, Intel's director of North American channel sales; Shirley Turner, director of North American channel marketing; Mike Steward, manager of North American channel marketing programs & initiatives.
"I want to find what is going on with the Intel channel and who is taking over," said Coffield.