Intel rushed to create Atom chip, executive said

Intel worked with Asus to create Atom and establish the netbook category

Intel had to hustle to catch up with competitors in developing chips for mobile devices like smartphones, but the effort led to the development of the highly successful Atom chip, a company executive said on Wednesday.

Today, the Atom chip is being used in most netbooks, which are low-cost devices characterized by small keyboards and screens ranging from 7 to 12 inches.

Netbooks are designed for Internet access and to run Web applications.

Intel kicked off the Atom project in 2004, when it was doing work on developing Arm chips in parallel, said Sean Maloney, executive vice president at Intel, at an event in San Francisco.

At the time the company was "running like crazy" to develop a chip for mobile devices to catch up with the fast evolution of wireless devices, especially voice services, which were peaking at the time.

Intel partly unloaded its lineup of Arm-based processors when it sold its communications and application processor business to Marvell in 2006 for around $US600 million.

Atom was focused on wireless data-related services, as Intel believed wireless carriers would focus more on their untapped potential in the future.

Intel worked with Asustek Computer at the time to develop Atom chips. Asus had a similar idea of developing an inexpensive device drawing low levels of power and providing quick Internet access.

Asus in 2007 ultimately launched the first netbook, Eee PC, and close to 350,000 units sold that year.

Netbooks finally started reaching a wider range of consumers in 2008, especially in emerging economies like China and India.

Though companies like Apple and Advanced Micro Devices have dismissed netbooks as having limited hardware and software capabilities, the devices have attracted a lot of attention due to their low cost and small size.

Worldwide netbook shipments reached 10 million in 2008, with shipments expected to touch 22 million in 2009, according to IDC. Research firm DisplaySearch estimates worldwide netbook shipments will reach 32.7 million units this year.

Intel's work in defining and explaining the netbook category isn't yet over, Maloney said.

"Netbooks are so far a second or third purchase for somebody who has a notebook," Maloney said. He has seen people whipping past netbooks in rural China to get to laptops. "First-time buyers won't buy netbooks," he said.

Going forward, Intel aims to further decrease power drawn as it puts Atom chips in smartphones and embedded devices.

For example, Intel is developing the Moorestown platform for mobile devices that draws up to 10 times less power than current Atom chips in idle mode. The platform is set for release in early 2010.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags intelprocessorsAtomintel atomnetbooks

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2018

With determination and drive, you achieve outstanding performance! Get Bitdefender Total Security 2018 Now!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?