September 14, 2010 / 8:06 PM / 10 years ago

Intel launches Atom chips for smart TV and cars

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Intel Corp unveiled microprocessors for smart TVs and Web-connected cars on Tuesday and expanded an online store selling applications for netbooks built with its Atom chips.

A shadow is cast on an Intel advertisement at the Computex 2010 computer fair in Taipei June 1, 2010. Intel introduced a pair of new Atom processors and announced the full launch of an application store for laptops at its San Francisco developer conference. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

Intel’s low-cost Atom processors designed for mobile gadgets dominate the netbook niche but the leading chipmaker has struggled to get into smartphones — and the fast-growing market for devices like tablets, car computers and Internet televisions is wide open.

As well as high-profile consumer gadgets, Intel aims to include its Atom silicon in more mundane machines like traffic signs, security cameras and home appliances that are increasingly computerized and interconnected.

“Two years from now, Atom in the netbook will still be a very healthy category, but you’ll be hearing and talking much more about Atom everywhere,” Tom Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager of sales and marketing, told Reuters at the annual Intel Development Forum in San Francisco.

At the event, Intel launched two new versions of its Atom chip. The E600 series, code-named Tunnel Creek, is aimed at embedded applications like in-car computers that control entertainment and navigation. The CE4200 series, also known as Groveland, is designed for machines that blend television with web-browsing.

“We’ve got to cover a lot of territory and as Atom is coming into these market segments where Intel architecture hasn’t been before we’re really trying to help support customers very quickly,” said Doug Davis, head of Intel’s Embedded and Communications Group.

He showed off a prototype racing motorcycle that uses a microchip to send data about its engine to a pit crew, and a roof-mounted taxi sign that shows different ads depending on where the cab is driving.


Atom processors are based on Intel’s traditional architecture and newer generations have improved power consumption so tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices can go longer without needing to be recharged.

But analysts point to an uphill battle against Nvidia, Marvell and Qualcomm, already making headway with cheap, low-power processors based on designs by ARM Holdings, UK-based Dixons and India-based Croma have agreed to install it on the Atom-based netbooks in their stores.

“We’re open for developers and consumers alike,” said James.

The chip giant and Adobe Systems also announced plans to offer the Adobe Air platform to developers creating applications for the AppUp store.

Additional reporting by John Tilak in Bangalore; editing by Carol Bishopric

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