Intel focuses on ‘companion computing’

Intel’s Atom processor roadmap will give rise to a new generation of Companion Computing devices.

Douglas L. Davis, Intel Vice President and GM, Netbook and Tablet Group described the emerging ‘companion computing’ category as netbook and tablet style devices “…that are mobile, personal, trusted and convenient,” and “…let you get things done or relax with.”

Companion computing devices will be powered by Intel’s Atom processor family, which will move from 32 to 22 to 14nm fabrication technology within 3 successive years. The result will be a new crop of faster, thinner and more feature rich netbooks and tablets of all shapes and sizes including convertibles, sliders, detachables and even dual touchscreen devices.

The ‘Medfield’ platform, which the codename for Intel’s first purpose-built 32nm Atom CPU for smartphones and tablets, will allow manufacturers to create tablets less than 9mm thick, provide rich media and gaming, HD imaging and provide all day battery life. Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), Windows 7 and the recently released MeeGo tablet operating system be supported, providing many options for manufacturers and consumers.

At the event, Davis demonstrated a tablet that had all three operating systems loaded at once, allowing the user to choose the OS they preferred at system start-up. The first Medfield-based tablets are expected in early 2012.

Davis also provided details about Atom processors for netbooks, starting with ‘Cedar Trail’, a 32nm platform enabling cool, quiet, sleek and fanless products. Cedar Trail is also expected to find its way into slim ‘all-in-one’ PCs and entry-level desktops.

Cedar Trail brings improved graphics, such as Blu-Ray Disc 2.0 support, a dedicated media engine for full 1080P HD video playback, as well as integrated HDMI. Other features include Intel wireless display technology, or ‘WiDi’ that allows a user’s screen to be sent to other compatible displays via a wireless network, ‘instant-on’ and the ability for computers to update content with the Internet while asleep.

Beyond the Cedar Trail platform will be ‘Keely Lake,’ due around 2013, and will utilise 20nm fabrication technology, and bring advanced cooling technology to companion computing devices.