LAS VEGAS--Atom's back, and it's not just for Netbooks, or even high-end phones.
Actually, the Atom platform's been around all this time, but Intel's CES 2013 press conference laid plans for Atom's next-gen revival. We expected as much before the show started.
The new Bay Trail Atom system-on-a-chip processors are quad-core and even smaller than previous Atoms, with a new 22nm design. These processors mean better "all-day" battery life as well as better processing power -- according to Intel, up to twice as fast as current Atoms. There are Intel Atom processors in current Windows 8 tablets, specifically the Atom Z2760 (case in point: the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2). Quad-core Bay Trail Atoms will arrive by holiday 2013, just in time -- hopefully -- for newer Windows 8 tablets. The question remains, however: will Bay Trail be enough to compete with other processors like Nvidia's Tegra 4?
For worldwide markets and budget phones, there's also an Atom in development, code-named Lexington.
Intel announced a smartphone for emerging markets, featuring the new "Lexington" Atom Z2420 w/XMM 6265 chip. These chips are meant for places such as Africa, China, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.
It has speeds of up to 1.2GHz with Hyper-Threading, HD video encoding and decoding (1080p 30fps), camera support with seven-frame burst mode, and SGX540 graphics.
There are plenty of extra features, too: FM radio, a microSD card slot, and Intel Wireless Display for playback on TVs or devices with that tech.
Intel already has Atom processors in smartphones from Lenovo, ZTE, Motorola, Megafon, Lava, and Orange in 25 countries. Lexington Atom processors aim to expand that territory. More to come.