Atom is the name of the processor formerly called Diamondville. It was designed for low-cost laptop PCs, ultramobile PCs, Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), and other small devices aimed at connecting to the Internet. The processor is tiny, less than 25 square millimeters, will be priced low, and run at a battery-efficient 0.6 watt to 2.5 watts thermal design power, according to Intel.
Intel developed the chip for a class of low-cost laptop PCs aimed at the developing world that started with the XO laptop from the One Laptop Per Child Foundation (OLPC). The foundation's dream of a $100 laptop for kids in poor nations has turned into a global obsession, and technology companies are climbing aboard.
[ See related story on Asustek's plans for an Eee PC with a 10-inch screen. ]
Asustek's Eee PC may be the most successful commercial low-cost laptop so far. Since its launch late last year, Asustek has sold over 1 million Eee PCs, the company said.
"The [Eee PC] has really opened up a new product category," said Sean Maloney, an executive vice president at Intel, during a launch ceremony for the Eee PC 900 in Taipei.
There are already more than 25 low-cost laptops being developed around Atom, according to Intel.
Taiwan's Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has already revealed plans to launch the G10IL low-cost laptop, which is based on Atom. Acer has said it will have a low-cost laptop PC ready this year as well, as have Taiwan's Micro-Star International and Giga-byte Technology.
But while such laptops are aimed at developing markets, they are finding success in modern areas. Europe accounts for 40 percent of Eee PC sales, and that figure is expected to grow to around 50 percent later this year, said Jerry Shen, CEO of Asustek, at a news conference in Taipei.
Shen did not give any further details about the Eee PC to be launched with Atom, only that it would be the second wave of the Eee PC.