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Intel Introduces Atom Chips For Netbooks, Tablets

The dual-core Atom processor, code-named Canoe Lake, makes half-inch-thick netbooks possible and will be available in time for the holiday shopping season.

Intel has introduced a dual-core Atom processor for thinner netbooks and the emerging tablet PC market, and says computer manufacturers will start offering systems based on the new processor before the holiday shopping season.

Intel demonstrated the chip Tuesday in a new netbook reference design, codenamed Canoe Lake. The design, introduced at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, makes it possible to build netbooks that are half an inch thick, or about half as thick as netbooks available today.

The mini-laptop Intel demonstrated was running a dual-core chip based on an Atom platform code-named Pine Trail. Computer manufacturers have been shipping systems based on single-core Pine Trail chips since January.

Dual-core Pine Trail chips will be in systems in time for the holiday season, Intel said. The low-power processors will available in netbooks, mini-desktops called nettops and the emerging category of tablet PCs.

Intel is also in the process of developing Atom-based platforms for smartphones and a range of other devices, including energy-efficient blade servers, retailing systems, presentation projectors and more, David "Dadi" Perlmutter, executive VP and co-general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, said during his Computex keynote. While Intel dominates the PC market, it is playing catch up in smaller mobile devices, such as smartphones and other handheld computers where ARM processors rule.

In 2011, the chipmaker plans to release a new Atom platform, codenamed Oak Trail, for the tablet PC market, as well as thinner netbook designs, according to Perlmutter. Tablet PCs are also called slate computers, such as the Apple iPad

Oak Trail will deliver up to a 50% reduction in average power consumption than previous platforms and target devices based on the MeeGo, Windows 7 and Google Android operating systems. MeeGo, a Linux-based OS, stems from a partnership between Intel and Nokia.

Intel also announced that entry-level desktops based on the new single-core Atom D525 and D425 processors would be available at retailers June 21.

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