MacBook Air Intel Chip Going Mainstream

The small Intel Core 2 Duo chip that allows Apple to make their MacBook Air so slender is not exclusively licensed for use by Apple. Newsfactor reports that both Lenovo and Fujitsu are interested in using the 65 nanometer scale chip in their own ultrathin notebook offerings.

Earlier this month, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air at the annual Macworld conference. The new laptop is so thin -- three-quarters of an inch at the thickest part -- that it fits into a manila envelope. The svelteness is achieved in part by a special chip Intel designed for the new machine, based on the older Merom line of processors.

During the Macworld presentation, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said Jobs had asked Intel to design a smaller processor. But Intel has not made any public commitment to Apple for exclusivity.

While nearly two-thirds smaller than earlier Meroms and requiring less power, the MacBook Air's Core 2 Duo has reduced performance compared to other Intel Core 2 Duo chips. But Apple has optimized the operating system and other features to maximize performance.

A lot of the action in chip making is likely to gravitate towards these smaller/more energy efficient designs as the market for small handheld devices continues to grow.