Intel Touts Big Internet on Small Devices

Its small but powerful Atom processor appears in a host of pocket-size mobile Internet devices on display at IDF.

Intel unveiled five new Atom processors at the Intel Developer Forum in Shanghai, China, on April 2, while OEMs pulled out a host of pocket-size mobile Internet devices that will feed off the small, energy-efficient, low-cost but powerful chips.

Intel's Atom processor, formerly code-named Silverthorne, will come in speeds up to 1.86GHz and will support Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology. Some versions will support Intel Hyper-Threading. That will all add up to what Intel claims will be the fastest processor in the sub-3 watt space, enabling fast Web page downloads and support for Web technologies such as Flash and JavaScript.

The single-chip design of Atom integrates graphics into what Intel calls its System Controller Hub, giving the devices run by the processor PC-like capabilities, long battery life and what Intel is promising will be an "uncompromised Internet experience." The System Controller Hub also features low-power 3-D graphics and Intel's High-Definition Audio technology. Intel Centrino Atom also allows OEMs to integrate wireless connectivity capabilities such as Wi-Fi, WiMax and cellular data.

Bill Calder, a spokesperson for Intel, said the browsing experience on these small devices-which OEMs plan to begin shipping in the summer-is going to be like sitting in front of a PC with broadband connectivity, on a screen size of 4.5 to 6 inches. The devices will give direct access to online content and applications, he said, unlike the browsing experience of Apple's iPhone or RIM's BlackBerry devices.

"[When you use an iPhone], if you go to the YouTube site, you might not know that's a custom-tailored YouTube site for iPhone users," he said. "There are some limitations to getting that full Internet."

In a similar vein, a BlackBerry delivers filtered browsing that's "not a very good experience," Calder said.

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