Intel to Make Chips for Tablets and Phones

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Intel announced a significant change to its product roadmap designed to boost the company’s efforts to get its chips into ultra-mobile devices of all shapes and sizes.

CEO Paul Otellini said Intel’s future processors for laptops and mainstream desktops would be designed with a power rating of 10 to 20 watts. That’s a major change from the 30- to 40-watt ratings of today’s second-generation Core processors. This isn’t the first time that Intel has made such a shift in its product roadmap–Otellini specifically cited the introduction of the Pentium processor and the Centrino mobile platform–but it is a significant one for Intel.

“We decided looking forward that our roadmap was inadequate, and we needed to change the center point,” Otellini said. “This shift that we are making today is as fundamental. We are aiming our center point for all of our design activities from the 30 to 40 watts to 15 or so watts.”

Intel will continue to have more powerful processors for high-end desktops, workstations and servers. Similarly, at the opposite end of the spectrum Atom will scale not only down to a few milliwatts, to get into smartphones, but also up to enable more powerful tablets, netbooks and other devices. The result, Otellini said, will be a product line that scales the entire continuum from phones to data centers with no gaps, at least in terms of power consumption.

These changes won’t get Intel into more tablets and smartphones overnight, though. Otellini said that Intel is “on target” with tablets–it had previously announced that 35 tablets designs were in the works-but confirmed that the first smartphones won’t arrive until the first half of 2012.

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