Intel working with 10 vendors to release Windows 8 tablets by year-end

Lenovo's K800, the first smartphone to use an Intel chip, will go on sale in China in late May

Intel is working with 10 undisclosed Chinese and global vendors to design Windows 8 tablets using the company's chips, a senior company executive said Wednesday.

"You'll probably see many Intel-based tablets by the end of this year," Intel China chairman Sean Maloney said while speaking at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.

Maloney made his comments as Intel has been working to expand its chip business into smartphones and tablets. The company's newest Atom processor, the Z2460 and also code-named "Medfield", is built for smartphones and tablets, and promises to give high computing performance while also offering long battery life.

The Medfield chip will be used in Chinese PC maker Lenovo's K800 handset, the first smartphone to use an Intel processor. The K800 will go on sale in China at the end of May, according to Lenovo vice president Wayne Chen.

Lenovo share of China's smartphone market last year was less than five percent, according to research firm Canalys. The K800 smartphone is positioned at the "high end", Maloney said.

Intel is also developing another mobile chip, code-named Clover Trail, which is designed for tablets and is scheduled to arrive this year. The chip features a 1.8 GHz processor, according to a slide shown during Maloney's speech.

Although Intel is best known as a PC chip producer, the company has big ambitions for the tablet and smartphone market, especially in China. "Our strategy in China now is to win with smartphones and tablets. We are making progress on it!" Maloney said during an online chat with Internet users earlier this week.

Chinese handset manufacturer ZTE also plans to launch a smartphone using Intel chips during the second half of this year, according to Maloney.

Intel is also developing two other Atom chips for smartphones. The Intel Atom Z2580 will offer twice the performance of the Medfield chip. The Atom Z2000 has a 1.0 GHz processor and is positioned for the lower end of the market.

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Michael Kan

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