Will Intel’s Windows 8 Tablets Help Microsoft Catch Up?
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) will release its first wave of Windows 8 tablets to retail stores in November. The new model reveals that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is not only trying to achieve a new operating system, but one that will run four to five architectures — three ARM (NASDAQ:ARMH), Intel, and AMD (NYSE:AMD).
The Intel-based Windows 8 tablet design will also include more than a dozen hybrid models, also known as convertibles. The hybrids combine aspects of a traditional physical keyboard-based laptop and tablet. The devices will come equipped with Intel’s upcoming “Clover Trail” Atom chip. Clover Trail is Intel’s first dual-core Atom design based on its 32-nanometer process technology. The single core version of the Clover Trail chip powers a phone from India-based Lava and is also expected to run phones from Lenovo, Orange, and Motorola (NYSE:MMI), among others.
Hybrid Windows 8 designs based on the higher-performance Ivy Bridge processor are also expected to be unleashed, but the specific market segment to be addressed is yet to be known. Similar to Windows 7, Windows 8 is expected to be powered by chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices and will be able to run older, so-called “legacy” applications. While Windows RT — a separate release from the computing giant — will make its debut on devices powered by ARM chip suppliers Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), and Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN). However, Windows RT will not run older Window applications.
Intel is also said to be working on a chip called “Bay Trail,” which is the chip maker’s future 22-nanometer follow-up to Clover Trail. The chip is expected to be a tremendous performer, with similar battery life to Clover Trail. Bay Trail will have a multitude of security features built in and Infineon 3G/4G silicon inside, and the chip will use Intel’s own graphics tech. A release date for the chip has not been set.