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Forget Haswell: Why tablet processors mean more to Intel at Computex

Brad Chacos | June 5, 2013
Intel's bid for mobile relevance became a whole lot stronger at Computex, starting with the news of an x86-based Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Thinking smaller

Update: Tablets weren't the only mobile devices on Intel's mind at Computex. Just after this article was published, Intel introduced the first smartphone based on its "Merrifield" Atom processor, which Intel claims has 50 percent better performance and a "much improved" battery life over its predecessors. So that's where those x86-based smartphone processors went!

Intel expects the chip to wind up in high-end phones early next year.

To (Transformer Pad) Infinity, and beyond!
Intel's sudden mobile threat has prompted ARM to rattle its saber. The company unveiled a new Cortex-A12 processor, and at a Computex news conference of its own, the company claimed that its mobile processors are superior to Intel's much-ballyhooed Silvermont Atom technology.

Analysts feel that Intel and ARM are now fairly equal on the performance-per-watt front, however, and Moorhead thinks Intel's refocusing on the mobile market--could--make things interesting going forward.

"If Intel executes on its 22nm and 14nm [processor architecture] roadmaps, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with," Moorhead says. "Not just an ARM alternative, but in a position where you'd have to think that you may be putting your mobile product line at risk by not having Intel in it."

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Intel's future hinges on cracking the mobile market as the masses migrate to tablet technology. Cornering the moribund Windows slate market and achieving a handful of Android design wins isn't anywhere near a resounding success, but Computex 2013 certainly shows that Intel isn't just spinning its wheels. Chipzilla's long-term plan for mobile is on the right track and gaining traction.

 

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