Intel confirmed on Tuesday the next generation of its Atom processors for tablet PCs, and the successor to Oak Trail, is code-named Cloverview.
In an e-mail to CRN on Tuesday, an Intel spokesperson said Cloverview will feature a 32-nm fabrication process as Intel seeks to shrink the die size of its Atom processors in order to get them into low-power, mobile devices. The spokesperson declined to offer additional details.
In a speech on Tuesday at the Intel Developer Forum 2011, Doug Davis, general manager for the company's netbook and tablet group, reportedly mentioned Cloverview and its power-efficient 32-nm process. Intel last December formed its Netbook and Tablet Group, currently responsible for its mobile platforms, in the hopes of getting Atom into the more portable, low-power devices.
However, Intel’s main rival in the space, British design firm ARM, not only claimed 87 percent share of the tablet segment in 2010, according to Gartner, as a result of licensing its designs to Apple for its iPad tablet. It also designed its next generation Cortex architecture for the mobile space.
Intel, which traditionally dominates the x86-based PC space, is attempting to migrate the architecture down its portfolio to a 32-nm production process and then, ultimately, a 22-nm process by 2013, according to Mark Miller, director of outbound marketing for Intel’s Netbook and Tablet Group.
Cloverview joins two other 32-nm Atom-based processors Intel is developing in order to target the burgeoning mobile device space. At IDF, Intel also unveiled its upcoming 32-nm Cedar Trail netbook and entry-level desktop processors. Intel discussed new consumer-oriented features as well as improvements in power consumption and performance compared to its previous generations of Atom. Intel said Cedar Trail is scheduled to run inside mobile and desktop hardware beginning in the second half of 2011.
In addition, Intel in February said it has started developing 32-nm Medfield smartphone processors scheduled to launch later this year. While Intel has yet to offer additional details, the company has said Medfield will deliver high-performance and competitive low power.
Meanwhile, Intel’s long-awaited 45-nm Atom-based Oak Trail processors last week began shipping to vendors and are due inside tablets in May.
Intel officially removed the Oak Trail codename from its Atom Z670 processors, which include a single, dual-threaded x86 processing core and represent the chipmaker's entry to the tablet market. The rapid succession of product announcements and subsequent partial disclosures is in keeping with Intel’s “tick-tock” product strategy, which requires tight product cycles and precise, ambitious schedules. Intel adopted the strategy in part as a result of ARM’s ascension in the mobile segment.
Intel isn’t the only vendor pursuing an ambitious tablet roadmap -- nor is ARM its sole serious competitor. Rivals AMD and Nvidia have both launched low-power, dual-core mobile processors featuring integrated graphics: AMD’s Brazos APU and Nvidia’s Tegra 2 processor.