Tag Archive | "idf"

IDF and BUILD – What to expect for Windows Tablets

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It’s going to be one crazy day for me on Wednesday. Two important events will take place that will give us a deeper understanding as to what’s going to happen with Windows tablets this year. Intels IDF event takes place in China and later in the day Microsoft kick-off their BUILD developer event. I’ll be covering them both.

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Pentium and Celeron Brands to Be Used for Bay Trail Atom Tablets, Notebooks and Desktops

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It looks like Pentium and Celeron branding will be used on Atom chips when Baytrail launches. And why not? As Haswell/Core reaches down into sub 10W territory, where Netbooks used to operate, and Baytrail reaches up into power bands above where Atom Netbooks were, there’s a big overlap. Intel will slap the Pentium and Celeron brands on Atom products. It could be an attempt to re-brand Atom for Windows and Android based devices.

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Acer W3 Screen Test

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Have you been thinking about the Acer Iconia W3 since the price was reduced? A full Windows 8 tablet with a full Web experience, flexible connectivity and a weight of just 540 gram / 1.2lb? I have. At $299 it’s a UMPC at almost giveaway pricing. It even comes with a Microsoft Office license!

The problem is that the screen is cheap. The viewing angles are tight, there’s a mesh-like layer which reduces clarity and it’s only 1280×800 in resolution.

I had a chance to get the W3 in my hands last week and took four photos that show the viewing angle problem. It is, in my opinion, a real problem for usage in landscape mode. At video-viewing distances, not a major issue but for reading, it’s pretty horrible. In portrait mode, however, it’s not an issue, and that’s how I’d be using the W3 most of the time if I had it because thumbing across the bottom is way easier in this mode.

The choice is up to you though. If you want a UMPC, this is your only choice below 10-inches until the Lenovo Miix 8 or other small formfactor Win 8 tablets appear.

Personally I’m sticking with the Acer W510 that I’ve grown used to and am very close with now. Along with a cheap ASUS Fonepad I’ve got it covers all angles. I would, however, be interested in a lighter 10-inch tablet/2-in-1 with 3G and Windows 8.1. Perhaps later in the year!

Note: I’m on tour at IFA (Berlin) and Intel’s Developer Conference (San Francisco) next week. I’ll bring you any UMPC-related information I uncover.

Intel Medfield tablet running Honeycomb spotted at IDF

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No details.  No name.

Intel just showed us a tablet running Honeycomb at the main keynote of the Intel Developer Forum this morning.

All they said was that it was running on Medfield. Looks like Android is becoming the focus for Intel tablets.

We’re in the keynote now and will try and bring you more soon.

1KG Media Blogging Kit goes to IDF

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At IFA last week I took the brave step of leaving my PC at home. For someone whos job it is to create content for websites and YouTube it wasn’t something that was easy to achieve but over the last year I’ve been getting more and more comfortable with my Galaxy Tab and Nokia N8 as an unbeatable combination for when I’m mobile.

I sacrifice a bit of quality to improved battery life, speed and sharing. It worked out well and I’m doing it again next we at the Intel Developers Forum where Ben and I will be from Monday to Thursday.

You can read about my experience with the kit here. Be sure to stay tuned to Ben and myself via twitter and the site while we are at IFA too.

The quality of media created when mobile has improved a lot over the years and I’m sure that I’ll have to take steps to keep up but what I find interesting is that tablets and smartphones are leading in terms of quality. PCs just aren’t keeping up. Apps, location, sharing, always-on, cameras and mobile connectivity are often better on these mobile devices. There will always be times when I want to put my bum on a seat and work with multiple windows and multiple media sources to create higher quality content, but not when I’m on the road.

Four more features revealed in Intel Cedar Trail presentation video.

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Information on Cedar Trail is being tightly controlled this week at Intels IDF event in China. Launch isn’t expected until the second half of the year with devices being ready for the Oct, Nov buying season so clearly the platform isn’t final yet.

We’ve learnt that the video decoding hardware is on-board which indicates a new GPU and we’ve been told that Intel Wireless Display (with no mention of 1080p by the way) will join Wireless Audio and wireless syncing.

If you pay close attention to the video you’ll hear about four more features that haven’t been mentioned in press releases.

First, Doug Davis talks about a ‘frequency’ improvement for the CPU. This could mean a useful boost into 1.8 or 2.0Ghz territory which we already know Atom is capable of from the Atom Z500 series cpus. Combined with dual-cores and the process improvements we could see quite a significant jump in cpu power of 30% or more.

Secondly, you’ll hear a mention of a 50% lower thermal design point. That would bring the platform down to around 4 watts which is a huge improvement that would save significant battery life when used in high load working conditions. Possibly 30% again.

Listen to the mention of ‘Always Updated’ which will allow applications to get updates when in standby. That’s interesting wording be cause it doesn’t say ‘always on.’ This could be linked with the fourth feature mentioned to provide quick wake, poll, sleep cycles.

Quick boot is the fourth feature. If this is to work with Windows it could be a trick that allows very quick standby state recovery. Perhaps an on-die memory cache? I don’t know but it could be very useful, especially when coupled with a boot-and-poll sequencer.

video from Netbooknews.

Posted from WordPress for Android with the Galaxy Tab

What are You Looking for in The Next Ultra Mobile Personal Computer?

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Ignore the old Orgiami-related UMPC term and take it for what it stands for. What do you want from your next Ultra Mobile Personal Computer?

Next week at IDF Beijing, Intel will be revealing what we suspect to be Cedar Trail, the next generation netbook platform. The problem is that there have been big changes in this market in 2010 and 2011. Netbooks have changed thanks to AMD, the user has changed, the internet has changed and there are now 3G-enabled, always-on tablets available for the price of a netbook. Intel may not have had time to build that market change into their new product so lets take  look at what it could reasonably achieve and then ask the question, what do you want in an ultra mobile personal computer?


Cedar Trail predictions here are based on personal knowledge and experience.

Cedar Trail is unlikely to be a major step forward in processing, graphics or video power but is likely to use the latest technologies and process to offer smaller dies which also means cheaper prices and lower power. In previous netbook platform generation changes we’ve seen 20% performance improvements couple with a 20% improvement in efficiency. Cedar Trail is unlikely to beat that so it would make sense that Cedar Trail is aimed at pushing the size and cost down. In the developed countries it is unlikely to make a huge difference but it could make a difference in developing countries.

Processing – Cedar Trail will be based around the Atom core and is likely to remain a 2-chip solution with CPU, GPU and Memory Controller on the same die. A change in the process to 32nm will improve efficiency and allow for a reduction in die size. Single and Dual-Core versions are likely to be available and clock rates are likely to remain in the 1.5-1.8ghz range. Hyperthreading will of course be included but we’re not expecting any surprises in terms of processing performance. No Turbo Boost, 2Ghz or quad-core versions…yet.

Graphics – This is an area where the Pinetrail platform has been hit hard in the last few months and Intel will either need to turn round something that matches the AMD C-50 APU or offers another angle. I don’t suspect a move to Power-VR cores and I don’t expect a huge boost in 2D/3D acceleration.  Don’t expect any GPGPU-related enhancements either. Cedar Trail is unlikely to compete with AMDs APUs in that respect because Cedar Trail is likely to be aimed at lower cost, smaller size, lower power.

Video – HDMI out is a must along with HD decoding. I expect that to be the major enhancement in Cedar Trail which will link with Adobe Flash to finally offer a smooth 720p YouTube experience and a 1080p experience via HDMI cable.

Restrictions – Microsoft is likely to continue to offer netbook-level licensing but that doesn’t mean that the platform itself can’t be used for other purposes. Expect Cedar Trail to be the simplest route to designing a Windows 7 Tablet which means you’ll see it with Windows Home Premium and MeeGo meaning 2GB and larger screens.

Pricing – Platform pricing will reduce slightly but the main cost advantages come in sizing and power budget. The smaller size and lower power dissipation means less time and material needs to be spent on the enclosure and motherboard. A fanless design could mean sealed-units which means a major saving in design and production costs. Smaller batteries can considerably reduce cost, especially when they are sealed-in units. Sub $200, 5hr units should be possible.

Power Envelope – With video decoding moving to a dedicated chip there will be improvements in the battery life claims from netbook manufacturers. The 8W TDP figure is likely to shrink to 7W to reflect this but be aware that these advantages may be offset by manufacturers as they enable lower cost or smaller batteries, again, meaning lower-cost products. Video playback battery life is likely to be the only truly noticeable change.

Features – Intel may choose to offer a wireless subsystem that includes support for Wireless Display and Wireless Audio. These ‘value-add’ features will be used in developed markets on higher-end products. USB3.0 is unlikely.

Always-On? One of the game-changing features for a netbook would be always-on. That means idling down to 100s of milliwatts of pwer usage. unfortunately, the basic PC platform is not built around this concept. The Cedar Trail platform is likely to adhere closely to the PC platform architecture and thus is not likely to offer any always-on features. That’s the value-add for the Z-series platforms (Oaktrail, Moorestown, Menlow)

Mcafee in silicon? Not for this time round. Like ‘Intel Insider’ and other premium silicon features, we’re likely to see these in high-end notebooks and desktops before the feature becomes cheap enough to put in a netbook.

In summary, Cedar Trail will bring two things to the market:

  • Cheaper netbooks for developing markets. Possibly sealed-unit low-cost 3-cell netbooks for the first time.
  • Thin, light, fanless, HD video, wireless display, HDMI features to high-end netbooks. Claims of battery life will increase but the average in-use battery life is likely to stay around the 7hr mark for advanced 6-cell netbooks.

Boring? Unfortunately, for most readers of this site that I know live in developed countries, yes. Cedar Trail isn’t going to be the marketing-fest that AMDs Fusion was although Intel and their partners will certainly try. There will be no major gaming performance advances. No GPGPU features and no high-end connectivity through USB3 or LightPeak. There will be no always-on features either but that’s largely the fault of the PC design itself. (And the reason why Moorestown and Medfield can’t run Windows!)

Asus Eee Pad TransformerViliv X70

Eking M5 UMPCHTCShift00a

What do you want from your next Ultra Mobile Personal Computer?

Key features I’m watching for this year are:

  • High Dynamic Range Computing (ultra low power to high-power computing in one unit)
  • Controlled Always On feature (not wild multitasking always on as with Android)
  • GPGPU features for accelerated browsing, image and video processing.
  • Modular Design
  • Fun, dynamic user interfaces
  • Attention to sharing in the operating system
  • Controlled standby with restricted multitasking / use of silicon. (To provide the ultimate always-on battery life)
  • Application store
  • Touch and Keyboard
  • Location support subsystem
  • Multi-user
  • Phone and Desktop devices in the same family running the same operating system.
  • Cloud-based applications (Like Google services)

What i’m talking about is a modular netbook that spans the world of mobile features and desktop features. You could also see it as a smartbook that breaks out of the cheap software mould and offers rich working applications such as office suites, a/v production and developer environments. It’s a device that spans the two Full Internet Experiences. Or maybe it’s two, that work together. We’ve seen attempts at this before but so far we haven’t seen the processing platform or operating system that has been able to drive it. Android and MeeGo are moving in the right directions and we should also expect Windows 8 to embrace this. Think of devices like the Asus Transformer.

Related article:  Social Netbooks and ARMs Lock-In Opportunity

Related article from GigaOm -  The Big Mobile and Desktop Platform Merge Is Underway (Written recently by Kevin Tofel)

I’ll be speaking about high-dynamic range computing and bridging the mobile / desktop gap at Mobile Monday next week in Munich.

The related IDF keynote will be on the 12th April (time on your location)

So fire away in the comments below – what are you looking for in a 2011 Ultra Mobile Personal Computer?

Intel to give First Looks at ‘New Generation’ Netbook platform at IDF Beijing

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IDF Beijing is the first Intel Developer Forum of 2011 and it starts on 12th April. While it’s not as big as IDF San Francisco in Sept it serves an important event for Intel in Asia because it is about now that ODMs will be looking at platforms for the Q4 market. IDF Beijing could provide us with important clues as to what advances will be made and how Intel want to market their platforms and software solutions in 2011.

In previous Beijing events we’ve seen…

IDF Beijing 2010 – Tunnel Creek. Next-gen embedded Atom platform

IDF Beijing 2009 – New Mids

IDF Beijing 2008 – Intel Atom products – first availability info.

IDF Beijing 2007 – MIDs are the new UMPCs

IDF Beijing 2011 includes a raft of Atom and mobility-focused sessions. Digitimes also say that Intel are encouraging notebook manufacturers to develop Android/Intel solutions for demonstration at IDF.  Doug Davis, General Manager, Netbook and Tablet Group will be giving a keynote so that’s the one to watch. I suspect that the Android Tablets won’t be the big news from his keynote though.

Taking a detailed look at the session catalogue there’s one session that stands out and having just put my thoughts down about the next generation netbook platform [extract below] this is one session I will be watching carefully.  Cedar Trail needs to make more than just an evolutionary step – critical architecture changes are needed to put value-add and GPU performance into the platform.

Here’s the detail from the session catalogue:

Designing a New Generation of Netbooks with the Intel® Atom™ Processor Based Platform

This session will introduce a new set of platform features and innovations that will allow HW manufacturers and developers the opportunity to build the next generation of exciting netbook designs that will delight the consumer. In addition, attendees will get first looks at the next generation Intel® Atom™ processor based platform.
Topics covered in this session:
• Platform capabilities enabled by Intel® WiFi solutions that deliver new netbook usage models
• Features and benefits overview of the next generation Intel Atom processor based platform
• Thermal solutions for cool and quiet fanless netbook designs
• Exciting demonstrations

I’ve highlighted the important lines but also take note of the Intel Wifi note. In my opinion that relates to Wireless Display and Wireless Audio. That’s exactly what needs to happen to create a unique value-add. The new netbook platform is currently known as Cedar Trail.

Here are my thoughts on Cedar Trail:

I confess that I didn’t have a lot of faith in AMD’s Brazos solution but they did it. They’ve made a classic disruptive move which will change the face of the netbook forever and, unless Intel repond quickly, take share away from Intel in the low-cost computing market. Well-known features/keywords like ‘HDMI’ and ‘1080p’ that are recognizable to the man on the street will differentiate AMD from Intel and where the price is the same, there’s little to think about. Games are also possible on AMD netbooks and it leaves little room for Intel to play in when it comes to Cedar-Trail.  They’ll have to increase the CPU power (1.66ghz dual-core is a nice figure that looks better, and performs better than the AMD 1.0Ghz solution) and add their thermal monitoring to allow overclocking on a core-by-core basis. 2.0Ghz ‘Turbo’ will be worth seeing. They’ll also have to add the 1080p capability from their Menlow and Moorestown platforms. To beat AMD they will need Wireless Display and hardware-accelerated H.264 and WMV encoding features to help with video format conversion. Longer battery life is a must and this is something Intel is highly likely to deliver with amazingly low quiescent states and very tightly-coupled wireless solutions. Given the likelihood that they will have a lower platform TDP and enable a smaller motherboard size, Intel solutions are likely to be thinner and lighter.

A convergence of the Oaktrail and  Pinetrail platforms into Cedar Trail (in terms of GPU architecture) is also needed in order to unify the platform for other software stacks but what would also be interesting would be Intels ‘power island’ or ‘power gating’ technology brought to netbooks. That could bring ‘always-on’ with compatible operating systems such as MeeGo, Android or even Chrome OS.

Intel need to deliver something special with Atom at IDF Beijing. Smartphones based on their technology are still missing from the market; Intel-based tablets are largely Windows-based and still not being delivered with Oaktrail; MeeGo is still unproven and the Intel netbook platform is being challenged by AMD.

Other Sessions planned for 2011

  • Developing Intel® Atomâ„¢ Processor Based Tablets
  • Optimizing Touch Experience on Intel® Atomâ„¢ Processor Based Platforms
  • Intel® Atomâ„¢ Processor Power Optimization Guide

The complete session guide is here.

IDF 2011 website is here.

If you’re at IDF Beijing and are interested in reporting for us, please get in touch via the contact form.

MeetMobility Podcast 56 Video from Intel’s AppUp Elements Event

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In podcast 55 we were live at IFA. In podcast 56 we were recorded live in San Francisco at Intel’s AppUp Elements Show.

In the podcast, sponsored by Intel, we talk about the Intel Developer Forum and Intels AppUp program.  Sascha (Netbooknews, Twitter) and JKK (JKKMobile , Twitter) join me (Chippy) at the table.

Audio-only version along with show notes and subscribe links is over here at MeetMobility.

MeetMobility Podcast 56 Video from Intel’s AppUp Elements Event

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In podcast 55 we were live at IFA. In podcast 56 we were recorded live in San Francisco at Intel’s AppUp Elements Show.

In the podcast, sponsored by Intel, we talk about the Intel Developer Forum and Intels AppUp program.  Sascha (Netbooknews, Twitter) and JKK (JKKMobile , Twitter) join me (Chippy) at the table.

Audio-only version along with show notes and subscribe links is over here at MeetMobility.

Intel AppUp – Huge Potential but Risks Remain for the New Shop on the Block

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appuplogoIf you’ve been following tech websites recently, you will have heard a lot about application stores and applications over the last year. Apple did it and everyone followed. Developers have made money and customers have enjoyed a huge range of software solutions. A year ago, Intel announced that they too were getting into the app-store game. With 30 million netbooks out there and a clear strategy to push into TV, smartphones and cars,  it wasn’t a bad idea at all. Last week Intel took us to San Francisco to get an update on the progress so far.

Since last year we’ve seen some progress by the teams to roll out a client to Windows and to seed some apps by offering prizes for new apps. They’ve also seen progress in the netbook market which has now grown to 70M with another projected 40M to come on top of that in the next year. They’ve also seen the tablet opportunities take off as Apple proved that it could actually be a successful form factor. Clearly Intel are doubling-up their efforts too as we experienced an unprecedented amount of marketing for a software product. Keynote mentions, an AppUp store in the high street (the former Sony Style store no less) and an additional 2-day conference dedicated to everything AppUp.  Full disclosure must be given at this point – we had a fantastic time at the ‘Elements’ social event on Wednesday!

So it looks like AppUp is getting the support from within Intel but does it really stand a chance? Do we need software store on Windows? Possibly not but AppUp is a bit more than just a repository and spreads further than just netbooks.

Key Features of AppUp

  • Write native code – C++, QT
  • Assistance for porting iPhone apps is available (Angry Birds is coming soon!)
  • Write Flex apps (Adobe flash or Adobe Air)
  • Silverlight support is being worked on
  • Intel are managing the payment back-end
  • Intel are managing the app authorisation
  • There will be multiple branded and tailored stores. (We’re hearing that there could be 10 or more by the end of the year.)
  • Tailored stores do not have to show a complete catalogue
  • Intel are introducing a curation system where partners can highlight good apps. (this could extend to community members)
  • Sega, Konami, Unity and other game creators are on board
  • Device manufacturers are on board (Asus and Samsung will distribute the store with netbooks)
  • Device distributors are on board (Best-Buy, Currys and others have announced they will promote the app store)
  • The future includes media distribution
  • The future includes affiliation schemes (this is a killer feature in my opinion)
  • The hardware platforms we’ve seen so far are blowing away anything you’ll see on a smartphone in 2010.

AppUp is out of beta and available for Windows and Moblin (MeeGo coming soon.) You can download it here.

Over and above all that, there’s a significant point to note – this isn’t just a Windows-based product. Intel are pitching this as a value-add feature for MeeGo too and that means tablets, smart devices, smartphones, Smart TV, Google TV, MeeGo TV and products like Boxee that have announced they will ship a product on Intel Atom. Total addressable market for AppUp is quoted as about 500 million end user devices by end of 2013. With sales of netbooks due to reach 200M by that time I’d personally put it much higher. Develop today and you could be looking at some serious opportunities by end of 2011. I’m not joking when I say that i’m seriously looking at going back into writing software!

Problems Solved

It looks like Intel will have enough installed user-base before mid-2011 and with Intel’s marketing power and a big number of manufacturers and retail partners will solve the problem of activating those end-users. They also seem to be on track to seed applications by offering an easy route for porting from existing platforms. The Adobe Air route is almost too simple and I expect to see hundreds, if not thousands of flash games being optimised over to the platform (along with a new monetisation opportunity) in no time at all.

The problem of having compelling end-user products seems to be well on its way to being solved too. I see Windows as a barrier until MeeGo products hit the market but with Intel’s Atom platforms growing to cover the 4” to 42”+ screen range, there’s a tidy set of silicon, software and solution stacks forming. We’ll see interesting products in 2011 for sure. Google TV and the current tablet craze will make sure of that.

Getting the word out to developers shouldn’t be too hard either. Once the installed user-base is in place and once a few MeeGo products are on the market it will only take the existing media channels, blogs, forums and some Intel incentives to get the developers interested. If there’s one thing thats for sure, there are a huge number of fickle devs out there just looking for the next revenue opportunity.

AppUp Elements 2010 (13)

Guy Kawasaki, Scott Hershkowitz, Ben Parr, Loic Le Meur, Regan Fletcher at AppUp Elements

The 5 Challenges.

Challenge 1 is to seed the application store with quality applications that have been written with the end platform in mind. Right now we’re seeing apps ported over from other platforms (Windows Mobile, AIR, iPhone) to the netbook. While these apps seem to be taking the netbook screen into account, most of them are ignoring much of the screen space, processing power and graphics opportunities. I certainly didn’t see anything that blew me away at IDF and Elements.

Challenge 2 is to prevent the problem of applications appearing on the wrong platforms. An application written for MeeGo on a tablet may be looking for an accelerometer that just won’t be there on a netbook. I have no idea how AppUp will handle that.

Challenge 3 is time. iOS 4 is already making huge inroads in this area and if Apple dial-in new products, the momentum won’t stop. The same is true of Android 3.0. Application developers that have had success on these platforms may choose to concentrate on these opportunities first. Chrome OS and HTML5 is also something to watch during 2011 too.

Challenge 4 is Intel itself, While the Elements 2010 evening party was an impressive show of marketing that made me love Intel more and more during the evening, that is not going to make Intel ‘cool.’ How are they going to dial-in the magic that makes people sit up and take notice? AppUp itself is losely branded and likely to appear branded under other names but this sort of fragmentation could actually make it harder to market the solution to developers.

Challenge 5 is MeeGo and Ovi. MeeGo isn’t just an Intel project, it’s Nokia’s baby too and MeeGo for ARM could be huge. If AppUp is dropped on top of ARM MeeGo to make it even more compelling then the whole AppUp project would have bit the Intel boys in the bum. AppUp could limit itself to i86-only but even then, Ovi could come along and boost the products. Remember, ARM and Intel are playing in the same product space with Cortex and Atom,

Peter Biddle – Head of AppUp Development for Intel

Exposing the Tail and Developer Feedback.

appup curation We were wined and dined, educated and stimulated by Intel in San Francisco but however long I sleep on this article I still see huge opportunities and an incredibly flexible application store framework. Curation and affiliation could be killer features and if you take a look at the slide on the right (click to enlarge) you can see that Intel sees the value in exposing the long tail. I wholeheartedly agree with that.  The biggest take-away though is the feedback from the developers so far. It’s all very positive and exciting and you can experience that first hand of a video we shot at the Elements event. Check the video out [Coming Soon] and get another opinion about what’s going on here.

It looks like we’ve really got quite the challenger here. As Paul Otellini said in his keynote last week, it’s about providing computing solutions and not just silicon now. Yup, it’s all about the apps, stupid!

The AppUp client is available here.

Power VR SGX – Intel GMA600 demonstrated at IDF

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The GMA600 is the GPU that will appear in Moorestown, Oaktrail (Z6xx-series Atom) and Tunnel Creek (E-series Atom) platforms that are feeding in later this year and during 2011. It’s a beefed-up GMA500 (400Mhz instead of 200Mhz) with, in some cases, hardware accelerated video recording and the core design is by Imagination. At their booth at Intel’s IDF last week they were showing off some of the capabilities of the GMA600 and GMA500 that appears in the Menlow platform. We hope that this sort of capability reaches ultra-mobile devices soon and that the AppUp developers can start to take advantage of it because it looks fantastic!

Top 10 Ultra Mobile PCs

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