Intel's faster, battery-boosting 'Cherry Trail' Atom chips ship

IDF Dell Venue 8 7000
Credit: Mark Hachman

With Intel now shipping its 14nm “Broadwell”-class Core chips in volume, it should come as little surprise that the company is shipping its next-gen 14nm Atom processor, “Cherry Trail,” as well.

Intel originally said that it would have the next-gen Atom chip in tablets by year’s end, so the company is roughly on track with that timetable. Those tablets will ship during the first half of 2015, and should be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show this week.

Intel’s Bay Trail chips are largely found in Windows 8.1 tablets such as Dell’s Venue 11 Pro and Asustek’s Transformer Book T100—which, incidentally, already received good reviews. (Cherry Trail can power Android tablets, too.) Pushing the chips to the 14nm process should only increase in performance and battery life. How much? For now, Intel isn't saying.

IDF Asus Memo Pad 7 Mark Hachman

Intel showed off tablets using its Atom processors, including this Asus Memo Pad 7, at its Intel Developer Forum in 2014.

Intel said that it will pair the new chips with its XMM 726x modem, providing LTE-Advanced capabilities as well. Intel has struggled to integrate its modems into the Atom processor, leaving it an also-ran in the smartphone market, where integration is prized. In tablets, however, there are far less restrictive space constraints.

Intel also said to expect tablets to use its RealSense depth camera technology, adding a new dimension to existing camera-enabled tablets. Dell has already put such a camera in the Dell Venue 8 7000 (above, top), and has said that more depth-camera enabled tablets are on the way.

Intel plans to talk more about so-called "context aware" technologies that will try to intelligently collate information culled from multiple sensors to improve computing experiences; other improvements include trying to use biometric information to replace passwords, as Apple's latest iPhones do.

Why this matters: Intel's efforts to provide holistic improvements to computing experiences are admirable, but the bottom line is that Cherry Trail is going to deliver faster tablets with improved battery life. And that's what we all want, isn't it? 

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