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Chromebooks can now run Linux-based applications, and even though the feature is mostly intended for use by developers, it can also benefit regular Chromebook owners. There are some tasks that websites and Android apps still aren't great at, which is where Linux applications might be able to help.
After years of insignificant adoption among manufacturers, Intel is apparently throwing in the towel on smartphone chips. The company's ultra-low-power Atom line of processors has had a tough time competing with low-cost players like MediaTek and, obviously, the incumbent mobile SoC juggernaut, Qualcomm.
Specifically, Intel is cancelling the upcoming Broxton platform and the already-delayed SoFIA fully-integrated mobile chipset, both of which were slotted in the "Atom x3" family and designed specifically for smartphones and tablets. The tablet-focused Atom x5 and x7 currently based on the Cherry Trail platform will continue to ship, though it is unclear if that platform's successor - Willow Trail - will enter production or if it, too, has been axed (Intel did not comment on Willow Trail, as it was not expected to ship for some time).
This week at MWC, Intel revealed its 2015 and 2016 mobile chipset lineup, as well as the fact that the company is adopting a similar naming scheme to its Core line of processors with these new chips. They've been dubbed x3, x5, and x7, and as with the Core processors, bigger is generally better.
Intel has long been something of a dark horse in the mobile industry. The company has seen negligible penetration in smartphones to date (though not none) and competes almost exclusively in the low to mid-range segment in Android tablets. Of course, as the ultraportable market changes and small, super-thin laptops and convertibles become more common, Intel is swooping in with design wins left and right, keeping the likes of Qualcomm, NVIDIA, MediaTek, and Samsung out of a lucrative market.
Intel's progress into the Android ecosystem hasn't exactly been earth-shattering. The number of high-end and mid-range smartphones equipped with an ATOM CPU still number in the single digits, making the x86 architecture a fairly low priority for app developers. In addition, Intel's emulator images have always lacked support for the Google APIs, leaving developers without the ability to test common staples like Google Maps or push messaging. Fortunately, that issue was recently rectified with KitKat as Google and Intel have finally shipped an x86 system image with Google API support.
Ok, so testing Android apps with Google-specific features on an ATOM emulator probably doesn't sound terribly exciting, but there's a major upshot: developers can finally use HAXM without making sacrifices!
ARM still dominates mobile devices more than two years after Intel started making chips suitable for Android phones and tablets. The company is taking another swing at it in 2014 with the newly announced Merrifield and Moorefield chips. These processors pack updated GPUs, new 64-bit architecture, and an efficient 22nm manufacturing process.
The Merrifield chips are now officially known as the Z34xx family. According to benchmarks produced by Intel, the dual-core Z3480 processor is capable of besting the Snapdragon 800 and Apple A7. Although, those SoCs are well into their life cycle while the Z3480 isn't due out for a few months.
For some reason, Samsung played a bit coy when it announced a pair of new Galaxy Tab 3 models yesterday, and left out the long-rumored Intel chip powering the 10-inch version. This morning Intel let loose with a little PR of its own, finally verifying what Reuters tentatively confirmed: there's Intel inside. The 1.6Ghz dual-core processor powering the Android 4.2 tablet is part of Intel's Clover Trail+ line. With Samsung's massive market presence, the Tab 3 10.1 could easily become the best-selling Intel Android device yet.
Also inside the 3G HSPA+ and LTE versions of the 10-inch Tab 3 is an Intel radio, included in the Clover Trail+ system-on-a-chip.
You think it's over? It's not over until ASUS says it is. And in addition to a handful of other hardware announcements at Computex, they've pulled the wraps off of a pair of more standard tablets in their MeMO line. The 10-inch MeMO Pad FHD (for "Full HD," we presume) is the more interesting of the two, thanks to its 1920x1080 screen IPS screen and unconventional Intel Atom processor. The MeMO Pad HD 7 is a slight refresh of the original, budget-friendly MeMO Pad, this time with a high-res screen and a quad-core processor.
The MeMO Pad FHD 10 comes with an Intel Atom Z2560 CPU running at 1.6Ghz - a Clover Trail model, and the first dedicated Android machine from ASUS to use Intel chips.
Today at Computex 2013, ASUS' Chairman Jonney Shih gave birth to no less than 11 products in a span of less than an hour, a surprising rate of fire we're not used to even at flagship events like MWC or CES, let alone Computex. Not bad at all, ASUS.
Undoubtedly, the most interesting and important announcement was the Transformer Book Trio, "the world’s first three-in-one mobile device." The Trio actually consists of two pieces:
At the moment, mobile platforms are vastly dominated by the ARM architecture, licensed to pretty much every major chip/phone maker out there. That isn't stopping Intel from pushing forward with its x86 mobile chips. The latest taker for the Atom line is Chinese manufacturer ZTE, with the oh-so-appropriately-named ZTE GEEK. The 5-inch smartphone was announced at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.
The GEEK is built around the Atom Z2580 chip, a 2.0Ghz dual-core processor that uses Intel's 32 nanometer fabrication process. (It's even got the familiar "Intel Inside" badge on the back.) It's only the second commercial phone announced that uses the CloverTrail+ series of chips, behind the Lenovo K900.