Intel and its hardware partners are gunning for the iPad and other ARM-based tablet competitors, with a powerful new Bay Trail system on a chip (SoC) as its key weapon.
SAN FRANCISCO - Leading tablet makers including Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba, all plan to offer tablets this final quarter of 2013 based on Bay Trail including both Windows 8.1 and Android models in a variety of small (7-inch) to larger (11.6-inch) displays.
Chris Walker, General Manager of Application Processors for Tablets at Intel, says two developments influenced the features of Bay Trail.
In big emerging markets like China, consumers have been replacing low-cost, more limited tablets after only a year because they weren’t getting enough value from them. In the U.S. and elsewhere, he says there’s a push to do more creative tasks and some of the things more traditionally associated with notebooks and desktops on tablets.
"Things like applying photo effects, editing video and other creative things to do more with the media they've captured on the device," Walker told TabTimes here at Intel's IDF conference.
He also said Bay Trail-powered tablets can offer more in areas like healthcare where the iPad has made great inroads. "The ability for a doctor to say look at a patient's record, monitor results from an EKG, snap a picture and consult a colleague in a video chat ... that opens up new workflows that are different than what tablets offer today," he said.
And he notes that Windows 8 tablets specifically offer the same security and manageability protocols that notebooks and PCs offer so IT doesn’t have to worry about a new layer of mobile device management (MDM). “Windows 8.1 is built for business,” he added.
(Using or planning to buy a Windows 8 device? Sign up for the free TabTimes for Windows newsletter for news, reviews, apps, insights and advice)
Taking advantage of multi-core with Burst 2.0
The other significant feature of Bay Trail is what Intel calls Burst Technology 2.0.
Basically, Burst 2.0 let’s these tablets better leverage the quad-core features of the Bay Trail architecture which includes four computer cores, four threads and 2MB of L2 cache.
Tablet operating systems typically don’t take a lot of advantage of multiple cores because the software is designed for single core operations such as running an email or word processing app.
Burst 2.0 is designed to automatically tap the extra cores when needed for additional performance and Walker says apps don’t have to be rewritten to take advantage of it. For example, you can multitask watching a video in one frame while chatting in another or checking email in another (though screen size is obviously a limiting factor as to how many things you might display at any one time).