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IDF 2011 starts in a few hours…

Tablet and Smartphone arena – Intel's next battlefield with 32 nm Clover Trail and upcoming 22 nm Bay Trail SoC

A few hours before Intel CEO Paul Ottelini's keynote officially kickstarts this year's IDF here in San Francisco, there are a lot of signs that Intel's focus this year may be a little different – in fact, it will be wider than before. The high end, unlike some rumours, is not ignored – there should be plenty of sightings of the new Sandy Bridge-E Core i7 3960X and its dual-socket Xeon twin from the E5 series, the latter having all eight cores enabled unline only 6 on the desktop Socket 2011 variant. And of course, there is the 22 nm Ivy Bridge, the next mainstream CPU, now almost ready to roll.

However, this year, the scope widens to tablets and smartphones – Intel's next target area, where ARM rules solidly right now. We expect to see plenty of Clover Trail-based solutions for tablet and smartphone designs using this 32 nm SoC dual core Atom flavour with PowerVR graphics, however, either the CEO talk or the follow-on Steve Smith session post lunch should demo, and likely focus on, the follow on 22 nm Bay Trail. The difference? While the Clover Trail may be good enough even for a Full HD resolution tablet – hopefully NOT a 16:9 panel one, the Bay Trail's better process and power savings should make it a true smartphone candidate. The issue here is not the processing power – Clover Trail has more than sufficient capabilities there – but the total idle and real load power consumption. Clover Trail is supposed to be close to the 10 hour target battery life on a tablet, but Bay Trail should bring power down sufficiently to have 2 day battery life on an Iphone++ class cellphone.

More on all this as the day goes on…

Nebojsa Novakovic
In the spare time over the past two decades, editor and writer of high-end computer hardware and design features and analysis for European and US media and analyst houses. Reviews of high end hardware are my specialty for 28 years already.

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