The well-known Atom processor will more than live on. It will land in tablets and break Moore’s law by shrinking every year going forward. The 32nm “Cedar Trail” Atom processor will slim down to 22nm next year and 14nm in the next two years. Smaller is better as a small chip will run faster, produce less heat and use less power than its bigger brother. A trio of features much needed in a sub-notebook or tablet device that gets a lot of on-the-go usage.
Speaking of small, Intel is turning up the heat on ARM by confirming its Atom variant, “Medfield”, will enter production by the end of the year and land in smartphones and tablets by the first half of 2012. It probably won’t change the fact that most smartphones are powered by ARM-based processors, but a little competition should help keep ARM from getting complacent.
Lastly, prepare yourself for the Ultrabook, Intel’s new PC-tablet hybrid that steals some of its design cue from the MacBookAir. The Ultrabook will feature Intel’s 2nd Generation Intel Core processor “Ivy Bridge”, a sub-$1000 price tag, Thunderbolt ports and a razor-thin 0.8 inch profile. Believe it or not, Intel expects 40% of us will ditch the traditional notebook and scoop up an Ultrabook by the end of 2012. [Intel]