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Avo Reid

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Intel Announces the Atom Family

April 02, 2008

"History is the short trudge from Adam to atom." -Leonard L. Levinson

Is this a historic milestone? Listening to Intel CEO, Paul Otellini, you might think so. "This is as important to Intel as the launch of the Pentium in the mid-1990s", the Intel chief executive said in a video played during an IDF keynote.

The Atom Processor family consists of Intel Atom processor and the Intel Centrino Atom processor, formerly codenamed Silverthorne and Diamondville. These are new low-power processors based on a completely new microarchitecture.

The Atom processor is designed for what Intel believes will be a growing demand for a new category of low-cost, Internet-centric mobile computing devices dubbed "netbooks" and basic Internet-centric desktop PCs dubbed "nettops,". Intel believes this new class of devices will be available later this year significantly less than current notebook pricing, $199 to $300. Noury Al-Khaledy, general manager of Intel's Atom desktops said that an Atom desktop could serve as a second machine in developed countries or a primary desktop in developing countries."

The Intel Centrino Atom processor is targeted at the Mobile Internet Device (MID) market . The Intel Centrino Atom processor technology includes the Intel Atom processor, a low-power companion chip with integrated graphics, a wireless radio, and thinner and lighter designs. Together the company hopes to enable a new class of mobile devices capable of providing the best mobile computing and Internet experience to date. The MID's fit between currently available Smart Phones on the low end of power consumption and features, and the current line of notebook computers on the high end. It's very likely that Intel borrowed from this technology to enable the development of the recently announced MacBook Air, "the world's thinnest notebook", according to Apple.

Intel's Tiny Chip

"This is our smallest processor built with the world's smallest transistors. The Intel Atom processor is based on an entirely new design, built for low power and designed specifically for a new wave of Mobile Internet Devices and simple, low-cost PC's. This small wonder is a fundamental new shift in design, small yet powerful enough to enable a big Internet experience on these new devices. We believe it will unleash new innovation across the industry."

- Intel Executive Vice President Sean Maloney

By using application development technologies like Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight, taking advantage of the power of the Internet computing cloud through Software as a Service (SaaS) and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), or as Adobe calls it Rich Internet Applications, these new chips and the innovation of new MID's that will accompany them may in fact represent a very important change in direction for mobile application development.

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