An Intel executive's brandishing of a tablet design on Tuesday means rivals to the Apple iPad are a certainty.
And the first serious Intel-based designs will show up at Computex in June. "People ask me, are you serious about trying to participate in the tablet market? The answer is yes...The message is stay tuned for Computex," Intel Vice President Mooly Eden, who heads the chipmaker's client group, said at the Intel investor meeting on Tuesday.
Intel, not surprisingly, sees distinct advantages for devices based on its upcoming dual-core Atom for Netbooks and tablets. "(People) want it to multitask. So, we deliver dual-core to be able to do several things in parallel," he said. "We believe performance is relevant even in this category (because of the need to multitask)," he added.
Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini, in his opening remarks at the event, also chimed in with comments that tablets are expected to eventually grow "at 73 to 88 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate)" and annual shipments should hit 50 million to 60 million units in the coming years.
Based on the presentations at the meeting on Tuesday, Intel is obviously preparing to take its Atom processor technology to the next level with power-efficient, dual-core designs targeted specifically at relatively high-performance Netbooks and tablets. Assuming that Intel keeps power consumption under control and close to the current single-core Atom chips used in virtually all Netbooks today, that can only improve the Netbook experience--and potentially lead to some compelling tablet devices running on Windows 7, Google's Android, or Intel's Linux-based Moblin software.