Intel keeps banging Atomic drum

Observers of the tech industry will be well aware that Intel is a lean, mean fighting machine. Ex-boss Andy Grove's maxim that "only the paranoid survive" has stood the chip maker in good stead over the years. You might express it another way: If you sniff competition stomp on it.

With Intel having dominated the X86 PC space since around the time I was still wearing short trousers to school, it's fun now to watch it fumbling around in the mobile computing space, trying to get a foothold that will lead to the dominance it is used to.

At Computex this morning, Intel's executive vice president and co-general manager of the Architecture Group, David Perlmutter, unveiled new products based on the Atom processor with an eye on Intel boldly going to places it has never been before.

Perlmutter - tipped to be a contender for Overlord Paul Otellini's throne, after he toddles off to do philanthropy, and enjoying his moment in the sun as rival Sean Maloney is reported coming back to rude health - showed off the world's thinnest netbook running on the upcoming mobile dual-core Pine Trail.

Perlmutter said that at just 14mm thick, the device using the "Canoe Lake" platform runs cooler and is 50 per cent thinner than any other netbook consumers can find on the market. Perlmutter showed a range of other Atom-based gizmos including blade servers, retail systems, projectors and the inevitable tablet PCs.

"Intel believes the strength of the Atom franchise can help consumers realise the true potential for a common experience to enable the compute continuum," burbled Perlmutter. "With platforms ranging from compact and portable netbooks, to Smart TV experiences and innovative tablets designs, Intel Architecture is driving innovative products based on a unique 'port of choice' software strategy."

Renee James, senior vice president and general manager of the Software and Services Group at Intel, joined Perlmutter onstage to put the case that software works on the Atom because of its x86 heritage.

James also announced that Asus will introduce a netbook App store called, wait for it, "Asus App Store" in the autumn.

Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci tipped up with some Intel Atom-based netbooks and tablets from Acer, running the MeeGo software platform.

"Acer will be ready with MeeGo-based mobile devices," said Lanci. "MeeGo's open software platform will present our customers with another choice of a friendly, easy-to-use operating system. We are pleased to collaborate with Intel in our continuous drive to provide effortless technologies that empower people at work, home, anytime, anywhere."

Coming early 2011, is "Oak Trail" an SoC Intel Atom platform for tablet and netbook designs. Intel reckons it will cut average power consumption in half with full HD-video playback and run MeeGo, Windows 7 and the forthcoming Google Chrome operating systems.