Intel Realigning Atom Processor Strategy Away from Netbooks

Netbook sales aren't what they used to be. A combination of factors ended the netbook craze that existed not all that long ago, including the rising popularity of tablet PCs, lower cost notebooks, and the recent introduction of highly portable Ultrabooks. Underscoring this point is the fact that Intel's Atom processor and chipset revenue fell by nearly a third (32 percent) in the Q3 2011 compared to the same quarter in 2010, according to IHS iSuppli. So what does the future hold for Atom?

Looking ahead, Intel is shifting its Atom strategy towards network-attached storage (NAS) devices, entry-level servers, and embedded applications. This shift will begin with the introduction of Intel's next Atom CPU -- Centerton -- built on a 32nm manufacturing process with a slim architecture and low power consumption, according to DigiTimes.

Skipping ahead to 2013, Intel will following up Centerton with 22nm Silvermont-based Atom processors, and then 14nm Airmont-based Atom chips in 2014. By then, Intel hopes to have a better foothold in the tablet PC market, the same one that's been partially responsible for consumers' waning interest in netbooks.