Intel's Atom

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A few weeks back, Intel let the cat out of the bag and officially announced the branding of their Diamondville and Silverthorne chips. You can read more info about the Intel Atom here. Intel's strategy for marketing this chip seems to be twofold. First is to supply the chip for a new segment of the tech market, the niche that Asus was able to maximize when it brought the Eee PC to market -- the niche between laptops and PDA/smartphones. A lot of buzz around blogosphere has the Atom competing with Via's Isaiah for a place in devices like the second version of the Everex Cloudbook, Asus Eee PC 900 and the HP 2133.

Now the second purpose (and I'm guessing this will come much later) would be to market it in Asian countries where cost is the number one consideration. Intel certainly explored that segment in Asian markets when it released the D201GLY board to Asia. This product would appeal to those seeking a cheaper computing platform to build devices from. It will also appeal to those who require low-powered devices. The Atom processors are touted to consume only half a watt. Another thing going for this platform is the fact that Intel has already announced that they are already developing the dual-core version of the Atom. So investing on the platform would make sense for those looking for a steady upgrade path. In contrast, Via's Isaiah is compatible with the current hardware of the C7 (codenamed: Esther), it's previous generation of low-wattage chips.

Looking at developments in the last few months, I am quite glad I'm still waiting it out before I upgrade. The next few months will bring more "green" computer hardware to market, all geared around the platforms of these low-voltage processors. Whether its Via or Intel, it will all come down to price and availability. That being said, Intel may have an upper hand in countries like the Philippines where they already have an established distribution network.

Now, all I need to do is wait for the sweet spot.


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