New Dell Tablet Will Be Powered by Intel Atom Chip

At IDF, Dell showed off an upcoming mobile device, the Inspiron Duo, that can be run as a tablet or as a netbook. The device, powered by Intel's Atom chip, will be out later in 2010.

SAN FRANCISCO-Dell later this year will release a convertible mobile device that can be either used as a tablet PC or reconfigured into a netbook-style machine complete with a keyboard.

Dell executive David Zavelson showed off the 10-inch Inspiron Duo Sept. 14 during the morning keynote at the Intel Developer Forum here. It was one of several devices-such as netbooks, tablets, handhelds and embedded offerings-powered by Intel's Atom chip.

The Dell device will be powered by a dual-core Atom chip, and will include a touch interface developed by Dell that will offer one-touch access to applications and content.

Zavelson showed the Inspiron Duo running a movie and video game in its tablet mode. When asked by Doug Davis, general manager of Intel's Embedded and Communications Group, whether it could be used in a work environment, Zavelson quickly reconfigured it via a swiveling screen to show the keyboard. He then sent an e-mail from the device.

Zavelson did not give many details about the Duo, though he did say it would be out later in 2010.

The new device will join Dell's Streak tablet, which was released earlier in 2010.

The demonstration was part of presentation by Intel's Davis showing the growing reach of the Atom platform, which was released two years ago initially for the netbook space. Since that time, Davis said, Intel has been pushing the platform in other directions, including embedded devices, consumer electronics and mobile phones.

During a question-and-answer session following the keynote, Davis admitted that currently Atom is primarily a netbook chip, noting that Intel has sold more than 70 million chips for netbooks. However, he said, momentum is building in the company's efforts to expand the platform's reach.

"We're on our way," he said.

New offerings in the Atom portfolio reflect that effort. Davis unveiled the Atom E600 SoC (System on a Chip), formerly code-named Tunnel Creek, designed for embedded applications such as automobile "infotainment" systems, smart grid devices and IP media phones.

Davis also showed off the Atom CE4200 processor, formerly code-named Groveland, another SoC designed to facilitate the integration of the Internet and television. The 45-nanometer CE4200 chip offers three-dimensional graphics support, H.264 high-definition encoding capabilities, and smart power management features that automatically turn off parts of the chip when they're not in use.

Two Atom-based smart TV products, from Sony and Logitech, are also scheduled for release later this year. Both will run Google's Android mobile operating system.

In addition, Davis talked briefly about a new Atom processor, "Stellarton," a configurable chip that combines the Atom E600 with an Altera FPGA (field-programmable gate array). Stellarton will be available in the first half of 2011.

Intel also gave the first demonstration of the upcoming "Oak Trail" on a traditional-looking tablet and a smaller handheld gaming device running Windows 7. Both will be available next year, Davis said.

Korean OEM Ocosmos will release a 5-inch gaming tablet in February 2011 that will be powered by the Oak Trail chip and will run Windows 7.

At the show, Microsoft announced that it had ported Windows Embedded Standard 7 and Windows Media Center onto the Intel architecture, and demonstrated the capabilities on prototype devices from Acer and Asus.

Dell wasn't the only tablet shown off during Davis' keynote. WeTab in September is scheduled to launch a tablet powered by the Atom N450 chip and running the MeeGo operating system from Intel and Nokia.