DESKTOP WHO? WINDOWS what? The classic Windows-based PC remains Intel’s bread and butter, but it has needed to diversify its diet for a long time. At an event at the Mobile World Congress in February, the company announced two new Atom chips, code-named Merrifield and Moorefield, that could be its first truly competitive mobile solutions—and they arrive not a product cycle too soon.
In case you didn’t know how high the stakes were, Intel President Renée James laid it out in her remarks at the event. “About 50 billion connected-computing somethings”—yes, that’s what she called them—“will be online by the year 2020.” Getting even a small slice of that pie would be pretty sweet. But competitors like Qualcomm and Samsung have enjoyed a long head start, so Intel has a lot to prove to prospective customers. the rundown tests traditionally conducted for PCs.
The demo also included two identical Windows tablets, one running Windows at 32 bits and the other at 64 bits, “just to show we could do it,” said a spokesperson.
But the real test of these chips lies ahead: Which device makers will include them in their phone and tablet designs? Eul named several at the event—Asus, Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung—and promised there would be more partners to come. We’ll see. The lack of on-board LTE in Intel’s chips has long been a sticking point, for instance, and the new chips are also LTE free (go.pcworld.com/ nolte), though Intel does sell a separate LTE solution.
Eul aimed some trash talk at Qualcomm, whose 64-bit ARM chip isn’t due until the end of the year (go.
pcworld.com/ qualchip). Intel got there first, Eul emphasized: “We ship. That is the difference.”