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Intel launches Oak Trail processor for Tablet PCs

35 different devices that will use chip expected this year

Intel has officially launched its power-efficient Oak Trail processor, which has been designed for use in tablets and other mobile devices.

The processor, which combines the Atom Z670 processor with the SM35 Intel Express chipset, was first announced last year in response to the growing demand for tablets. The processor manufacturer said it believes there is a huge opportunity as the demand for netbooks and tablet PCs continues to grow.

The chip has specialised hardware to quickly decode high-definition video and decoders to accelerate the playback of MPEG files in Windows Media Player. Intel is using a different graphics core than it uses on current Atom netbook chips.

Intel said the size of the processor was 60 percent smaller that previous Atom chips, making it ideal for use in tablet PCs and other devices with small form factors. It comes with a 35nm design. Furthermore, the power consumption has been reduced from around 7watts to 3watts, which according to Intel, means the battery life of a device using the chip can be increased.

The chips will support a number of operating systems including Microsoft's Windows 7, MeeGo, the tablet optimised version of Android - which is known as Honeycomb and Google Chrome OS. Intel said around 35 devices featuring the chips are in the pipeline, with many to be launched in Q2 of this year Lenovo, Fujitsu, Samsung and Motion Computing, are among the companies that have already shown off Oak Trail tablets running Windows 7.

"Oak Trail tablets are expected to start hitting shelves in May and throughout 2011," said an Intel spokeswoman said at the beginning of the month .

Last month, Intel listed the Z670 chip for tablets on its price list, despite none of the devices running the chip being made available.

Intel also announced its plans to make its Cedar Trail processors, which feature a 32nm design, available in the second half of this year.

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