Intel “is aiming to mass produce its Oak Trail platform for its Sleek Netbook segment targeting the tablet PC market in December 2010. The Oak Trail platform is a combination of Intel’s Lincroft (Atom Z6xx series) processor with Whitney Point chipset.”
See: Intel reveals Chief River platform for notebooks [Digitimes, Nov 1].
- Update: Intel starts mass producing Oak Trail platform [Nov 24]
… specifically for tablet PCs, with the combination of Atom Z670 processor and SM35 chipset the initial product, according to industry sources.
The Oak Trail platform will sell at about US$25 with MeeGo, and the price for Oak Trail and Microsoft’s Windows 7 will be higher.
This notification given to Intel manufacturing partners in Taiwan might remove the long-standing barrier for Microsoft to introduce its long awaited Windows 7 slates to the market as early as in the second half of November, with retail availability in December. This would be even more than that since on November 20th the company will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Windows. Steve Ballmer might also have an additional, big case for celebration as whatever he has been telling in the last months there had been no sufficient evidence to back his claims, see: Windows slates in the coming months? Not much seen yet [July 13 – Oct 6, 2010]. And for people interested in technical details it has been well known all along that the Moorestown Atom chip (Atom Z6xx series) has not been developed to run the prime Windows software so Microsoft should wait for arrival of a Windows 7 capable version, code-named Oak Trail and originally promised for early 2011 availability only. See: Intel SoC for Cloud Clients [June 27 – Aug 23].
What kind of Windows 7 tablet/slate might soon arrive with Oak Trail availability? Will such a “sleek netbook” device (as per Intel’s new terminology) be able to compete with Apple’s highly successful iPad or even surpass that in capabilities. Before those devices are announced no definite answers could be given. Nevertheless there is sufficient evidence already that there could be very big surprises in that regard.
Here is Dell Inspiron Duo flipping tablet/netbook device first shown on the Intel Developer Forum in September:
Update: Dell is definitely the #1 Microsoft ally now as evidenced by Michael Dell: Developing Windows smartphones ‘easier’ than Android [Nov 2]
– Hybrid Dell Inspiron Duo Tablet : A Netbook and A Tablet Device [Sept 19]
– Dell’s Atom-powered Inspiron Duo: 10-inch netbook / tablet hybrid with a crazy swivel (update: more video and detailed press photo!) [Sept 14]
– Dell to Reinvigorate Its Brand Name with New Campaign [Oct 21]
The marketing campaign will include television spots, due to start November 6, and print ads about a week later. According to the company, the campaign would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Even Intel Free Press, a 3 weeks only Intel tech news initiative is drawing attention to it by a title telling a lot – Free Shot: Looking for Tablets this Holiday Season? [Oct 8]:
This is the first year when tablet computers have a chance of hitting a relative’s top 10 wish list for the holidays. In addition to the widely popular iPad, several new touch screen tablets are rumored to be coming before the end of the year, including the hybrid Dell Inspiron Duo tablet-netbook. Moving away from a physical keyboard and familiar computing experience might scare away many people, but Dell seems to have found a nice middle ground. This video shows how the 10-inch touch screen flips transforming the tablet slate into a traditional netbook with keyboard.
Look at the video and you will be more than convinced.
There is also an explicit confirmation from Microsoft in Ballmer: Windows 7 tablets to be seen by Christmas [Oct 5]:
A spokesperson said Microsoft can confirm three Windows 7 slates: one from Hanvon in China, Toshiba’s Libretto W100 (which doesn’t really count because it’s a limited-quantity prototype) and the Dell Inspiron Duo Tablet, which Dell has said will be available later this year.
We can already see from this that there will be other vendors with Windows 7 slates/tablets. There is more evidence to support that:
– Intel: Our Tablet Design Momentum Is Very Strong [Oct 13]
– Acer tablet PC line launching on November 23rd, priced from $299 to $699 [Oct 27]
– Acer set to unveil multiple tablets on Nov. 23 [Oct 29]
– Acer first tablet PC aimed at fulfilling telecom carrier demand [Oct 29]
– Asustek details tablet PC plans [Oct 29]
– Latest Update On ASUS Tablets – 7-Inch to 12-Inch Range [Oct 29]
Furthermore Intel has already started to mount a strong market attack:
– via their own CEO at the current earnings conference call with: Intel CEO praises iPad, throws down gauntlet [Oct 12]
– via the well-known market research company iSuppli explicitly stating: Intel Aims to Enter Tablet Market With Oak Trail Processor [Oct 19]
– via their own Intel Free Press with an extensive article about Reports of Netbook’s Death Greatly Exaggerated, Experts Say [Oct 26]
And this is all before the 25th anniversary of Windows! Watch the news!