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Intel hails success of Atom chip

Atom processor seeing widespread adoption in small form factor PCs and mobile internet devices

Intel has been showcasing the success of its architecture for mobile and embedded devices, the Atom processor.

Launched in March this year, the Atom processor, which is designed for low power consumption and portability, has already been included in over 700 hardware designs, according to the company.

Speaking at a keynote address to the Intel Developer Forum, Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group at Intel, said that the Atom processor was proving to be a “fundamental building block embedded systems, netbook and net-top computers and mobile internet devices”.

During his presentation, Chandrasekher showed off some of latest developments with mobile internet devices, including MIDs that can run games such as World of Warcraft game, full high definition video at 1080p and 30 frames per second, and devices that combine MID functions and location based services for applications like social networking and in-car navigation.

The technology has been well received both by hardware manufacturers, as reflected by the wide range of devices and form factors that use Atom, and also by software developers, who appreciate being able to develop Intel architecture applications that will run across all platforms.

Chandrasekher was joined on stage by Ranee Poehler president of Panasonic Computer Solutions. Panasonic is using the Atom processor in a range of rugged devices for both outdoor usage and healthcare situations. Poehler said that the features enable by Atom were creating a $2.5 billion opportunity to provide solutions for the enterprise and government sectors.

“Our government customers tell us they are doing applications they couldn’t do before, because they didn’t have a full operating system and all its features. These applications are allowing out customers to be more mobile,” Poehler said.

Development for Atom-based systems was also boosted by the announcement that ten software vendors will develop solutions for Moblin – the open source Linux software stack that has been created to make mobile solutions.

Intel also spelled out its future plans for the Atom processor, which include developing dual core versions, and the next generation of Atom processor, code-named ‘Moorestown’ due in 2009-2010. The next generation will use the same 45nm production size, but will be mounted on a credit card-sized motherboard, with a much smaller thermal footprint.

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