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Intel says Oak Trail for Tablets is due early 2011

This will come as good news for Microsoft’s hopes in the tablet market

By PETER WHITE

Published: 11 November, 2010

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This will come as good news for Microsoft’s hopes in the tablet market. Intel told a meeting of Reuters journalists this week that it will, as promised, start shipping Atom Oak Trail processors in early 2011. The power of Atom processors is needed to run Windows 7 on tablets and Oak Trail is touted for using less power than existing Atom processors.

Intel said a reference design that it created for Oak Trail allows up to 12 hours of usage. It did not say what size the display is in the design.

In addition to Windows 7, Oak Trail is also expected to support Chrome OS, Android and the MeeGo OS Intel is developing with Nokia. Intel did not publicly announce prices and specs for Oak Trail.

The hopes of both Intel and Microsoft in the booming tablet market are riding on the Atom Oak Trail. So far, only HP, ASUS and Viewsonic have announced launch dates and prices for Windows 7 tablets. In the meantime, many Wintel loyalists have abandoned the two PC titans including PC giants Dell and HP for its consumer-oriented tablet.

Google’s Android OS has been the OS on most tablets that have been announced or rumored. Apple, HP and RIM have developed and/or acquired their own tablet OSs. Most tablets that have been announced use a version of ARM-designed processors from a variety of chip makers but not including Intel. We expect to see a number of at least working prototypes of tablets with Oak Trail and Windows 7 at CES in January.

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