Tablets using Intel's newest Atom processor, Bay Trail, will hit the market next quarter, according to a comment made by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich during the chipmaker's earnings conference call with analysts.
Until now, the one-to-four core, 64-bit capable, low-power processors have largely been restricted to Windows 8.1 devices, reflecting Bay Trail's original Windows focus. Intel switched focus to Android during the development process, and this is what caused the delay in getting Android products to market.
Although previous Atom parts included 64-bit variants for high-density servers, Bay Trail represents the first Atom processor that has 64-bit editions aimed at tablets. Apple stole a march on its competitors in the smartphone and tablet market last year when it introduced the 64-bit A7 processor in the iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and iPad Mini with Retina Display. 64-bit support can provide modest improvements to both security and performance, and just as it has taken over the desktop and server space, in the long term it's inevitable that it will do so in the mobile space..
Windows 8.1-based Bay Trail tablets currently all run 32-bit versions of Windows due to driver issues with the 64-bit version's Connected Standby feature. Intel expects this situation to be remedied within the next few months, enabling 64-bit Windows on tablets. 64-bit Android tablets are set to follow shortly after. Intel demonstrated 64-bit Android on Bay Trail last November, but ARM-based Android is currently a 32-bit OS.
Intel's earnings for the final quarter of 2013 were a little surprising. Revenue of $13.8 billion was up three percent on the previous year, and net income of $2.6 billion was an increase of four percent. Though the overall PC market fell, Intel saw growth in one rather unfashionable segment: desktop PCs. Average prices for desktop processors were up five percent year on year.
Intel attributed this in part to the ongoing transitions from Windows XP: corporations are finally replacing old systems, and this is stimulating demand. The company anticipated further scope for desktop growth next quarter.