Category Archives: intel

The sincerest form of flattery

Intel looks ever more like someone whose birthright is slipping away.  While it continues to dominate both its core PC market and the server market it usurped from an earlier generation of distinct top-end hardware, this is no longer where interesting growth is happening.  In the mobile space – where power consumption means a tradeoff between battery life and weight that people really notice – it sounds ever more shrill and desperate.  Otellini & co: we ARE relevant!!!  Rest of world: shrug.  Even the best friends are slipping away: long-term partner Microsoft openly double-timing them; a year-long fling with a rudderless Nokia going nowhere exciting.

But are they actively paying tribute to their own nemesis?  It sure looks like it!  They’re naming their efforts to compete in the lower-power-consumption market from ARM’s family history.  First came Atom: Intel’s low-power processor range named after the Acorn computer of the early 1980s.  And now Oak Trail, the latest, lowest-power-consumption processor in the Atom range.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to name one product after your competitor might be considered a misfortune.  To name two looks like carelessness!

For the benefit of non-techie or too-young-to-remember readers, ARM, which dominates the mobile processor market, was originally a spinoff from Acorn Computer, so might be considered an Oak.  Atom was an early personal computer made by Acorn, superseded by the BBC Micro and the Electron.  Those early Acorn computers were powered by processors from Intel’s then-biggest but long-since-vanquished rival Motorola.