Intel next-gen 22nm Merrifield, Bay Trail chips coming to future smartphones, tablets

Intel may be busy launching a new dual-core Clover Trail+ processor for smartphones, but the company’s already looking ahead to next-generation Atom chips for smartphones and tablets.

The companys’s 32nm Clover Trail+ will eventually be replaced by 22nm “Merrifield” processors designed to offer better performance and longer battery life.

Meanwhile the company’s confirming that the upcoming Atom “Bay Trail” chips should start shipping later this year, which means you may be able to pick up a tablet with a 22nm Atom processor in time for the 2013 holiday season.

Intel Atom inside tablet

Bay Trail chips are expected to offer twice the performance of the Clover Trail processors powering Windows 8 tablets today, while offering lower power consumption (and heat generation). That means we should see tablets with longer battery life and thinner cases — Intel says you can build a Bay Trail tablet that’s just about 8mm (0.3 inches) thick.

Intel is partnering with device makers including Quanta, Pegraton, ECS, and Wistron to build Bay Trail tablets.

You may have noticed that all the news about Atom chips recently has concerned tablets and smartphones. While the Intel Atom chips of yesteryear were primarily used in low-cost netbook computers, Intel is positioning future versions of its low power processors as  chips for mobile devices.

Many tablet makers are also offering keyboard docks which let you use their tablets as notebooks. But Eee PC-style $300 laptops, these are not.

Not all Atom chips are designed for mobile use though. Intel is also pushing its low power chips for use in servers. But unless you make a habit of buying enterprise hardware, you probably won’t ever get your hands on a device with one of those chips.

  • Joe

    I’m hoping for a 7″ Windows 8 tablet using a Bay Trail SoC. Fairly often, I wish I had access to Windows desktop software on my 7″ Android tablet despite the desktop UI. The Windows 8 touch and pen enhancements in the desktop are pretty good.

    • toronado455

      Can Win7 be installed (and run) on the current crop of Atom Z2760 powered Win 8 tablets, such as the Samsung ATIV Smart PC?

      • CyberGusa

        Possibly, as long as you can get around the UEFI (booting, etc), but it wouldn’t be recommended because Windows 7 doesn’t take advantage of Clover Trail’s advance power management features… So run time would be terrible, among other potential problems like always connected feature wouldn’t work, etc.

        Besides, Windows 8 can be made to look and run like Windows 7… though, if you have Windows 8 Pro… there could also be what they call downgrade rights, will vary per system and company that sells them but the Professional edition is permitted to be downgraded to Windows 7 at no additional fee… at least for the license…

      • toronado455

        Thanks. I guess Win 7 is a bad idea on these machines. I’m just still not convinced that Win8 is fully as stable a platform as Win7 – too many bugs still.

      • CyberGusa

        Yes, it takes awhile for MS to iron out OS issues after a new release… I’d say give it a year and then see how it stands.

        http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/blue

        Also, the number of Apps should be pretty healthy by then as they’re already over 130.000 now.