Report: Manufacturers Hesitate To Offer Oak Trail-Powered Notebooks

Intel on Thursday said its Atom-based Oak Trail processors had not lost momentum among manufacturers, despite rumors that the integrated CPU-GPU chip platform had lost favor among Intel's largest customers.

Intel's Oak Trail processors offer extended battery life and full 1080p HD video support to tablet devices as well as newer netbooks. Oak Trail offers a fifty percent reduction in power consumption and improved thermodynamics.

"We are very pleased with the customer momentum for 'Oak Trail' with devices spanning from fanless netbooks to tablets, as well as innovative form factors like convertibles and sliders," an Intel spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to CRN on Thursday.

In order to attract OEMs preparing traditional PC offerings, Intel enabled support for Windows 7 by adding two Atom chipsets code-named Lincroft and Whitney Point to its Oak Trail S0C.

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"These designs and momentum were demonstrated at CES last week, where we had on display a multitude of devices from leading OEMs and ODMs based on the upcoming 'Oak Trail' Intel Atom platform based on a variety of operating systems including Windows 7, Android and MeeGo," the spokesperson said.

Despite the fact that Intel's Atom-based Oak Trail platform is optimized for tablets, there are indications that notebook makers are not enthusiastic about including the platform in larger form factor devices. Only Fujitsu, Toshiba and Samsung have offered Oak Trail tablets while HP has scrapped its own Oak Trail tablet plans.

According to a report from Digitimes , OEMs including Acer and Asus are unwilling to offer Oak Trail-powered systems, despite Intel's efforts to convince them. The report says Intel has offered them price discounts and that HP and Asus are likely to end up adopting Oak Trail.

The report says Oak Trail starts at a price of approximately $40, the same range as Nvidia's Tegra 2, which by contrast is featured in several devices.

However, Tegra 2 is aimed specifically at the embedded device market, just as AMD's Brazos APUs within the broader Fusion integrated graphics lineups are specifically geared toward smaller form factor devices. Since Oak Trail does not offer a significant advantage in terms of performance, Intel 's strategy of offering the same solution to multiple product categories may lead OEMs to wait and see how well Oak Trail runs on other notebook PCs before adopting it themselves.

NEXT: Oak Trail And Sandy Bridge

Intel began full production of Oak Trail in November, and the company has repeatedly said it plans to begin offering the integrated solution inside devices in the first quarter of 2011.

However, with the launch of Intel's Sandy Bridge at CES 2011 , another next-generation Intel Core-based integrated graphics platform with video compression capability that Intel CEO Paul Otellini called the best product Intel has ever offered, the momentum for Oak Trail may have stalled despite its support for a variety of operating systems.