Today, for the first time since Atom first debuted, Intel is launching an updated version of the Atom core that does more than integrate additional function blocks and lower power consumption. The tablet iteration of the new SoC is called Bay Trail, and it's aimed at the red-hot tablet and handheld market currently occupied by various chips from Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, and NVIDIA.
Our first thought? Finally. This is what Intel's Atom architecture always aspired to
Intel has done some impressive things with Atom, including its first
serious forays into mobile phones and tablets, but the Bonnell
microarchitecture that debuted in 2008 was explicitly designed to
emphasize low power consumption, not performance. ARM has released
multiple processor updates since 2008 -- the Cortex-A8 debuted that
year, followed by the Cortex-A9 and the Cortex-A15, while Intel's
in-order Atom contented itself with die shrinks and feature integration.
Such efforts gave us Medfield and Clover Trail devices, but they also
risked Intel being permanently painted as an also-ran.
After today, that shouldn't be a problem...