When it comes to Android tablets, you might not have thought it, but Intel has been supplying processors that reside inside such tablets for quite a while now. Some of the newest, and best-looking Android tablets like Dell’s Venue 8 make good use of Intel’s x86 processors, including their RealSense technology for measuring things using the cameras. Just as they do with their Desktop-destined processors, Intel often iterates and upgrades their mobile processor line on a yearly basis, and a new architecture – an overall platform for all different processors – is often unveiled once every year or so.
The last big architecture release for mobile processors was the Bay Trail release, with models such as the Intel Atom Z3580 inside of the ASUS ZenFone 2, but this has been succeeded by Cherry Trail, a newer architecture with better graphics support and less power consumption. Now, DigiTimes is reporting that Intel is to cut the discount that tablet manufacturers would get for using Bay Trail chips in new tablets, which has caused a sort of rush for the older chips. This might create a sort of influx of new Intel tablets hitting the market, but it looks more as though Intel is trying to get these manufacturers to use Cherry Trail chips, which without the discount on Bay Trail chips, should cost much the same per unit. This doesn’t seem a smart move on Intel’s plan, after all manufacturers have been turning to the cheaper alternative for years now, and that alternative could push them into the arms of MediaTek.
Intel’s x86-based processors have been delivering solid performance to smartphones and tablets for some time now, but there’s still a sort of stigma surrounding them. It’s a shame really, because Intel do make good processors and competition like this is good for the likes of Qualcomm and MediaTek, pushing them to produce better chips. Either way, it’s unclear which upcoming tablet manufacturers will move to Cherry Trail for Android or stick with Bay Trail. More Android tablets running Intel processors will probably hit shelves towards end of this year and early next.