The lucrative tablet market is currently dominated by Apple’s ARM-powered iPad. However, the advent of Windows 8 is likely to usher in a new era of x86-based devices.
Intel says it is ready to step up to the x86 tablet plate with its Atom Z2760 "Clover Trail" chip, which Santa Clara described at IDF Beijing as a dual-core processor with "burst mode" and advanced hyperthreading capabilities.
According to CNET, Intel plans on supporting two (initial) basic tablet form factors: 10-inch devices and hybrid 11-inch designs with physical keyboards.
Santa Clara also believes Clover Trail-based tablets will boast more than nine hours of battery life, a somewhat optimistic claim which will obviously have to be tested under real-world conditions before it can be validated.
Additional Intel tablet specs include 3G/4G, a weight of under 1.5 pounds, thickness under 9mm, NFC (near field communication) capabilities and Wi-Fi Direct.
As InfoWorld’s Woody Leonhard notes, it isn’t clear if the above-mentioned specs detail a reference design or minimum hardware requirements - but they do obviously indicate Intel’s determination to take on Apple’s wildly popular iPad.
However, Leonhard also pointed out that Santa Clara omitted a number of important details from its IDF Beijing presentation, including the status of I/O ports (USB/HDMI/SIM), display type/resolution and the inclusion of UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface).
Nevertheless, we do know that Microsoft requires Windows 8 tablet manufacturers to implement a minimum of five hardware buttons including power, rotation lock, Windows key, volume up and down.
Redmond also requires requires wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.0, a 720p camera, and a number of sensors, which although not specifically mentioned by Intel at IDF Bejing, will presumably be integrated in any future Windows 8 tablet.