Details of Intel's upcoming Atom platform have been leaked, with the next-gen system taking firm aim at rival manufacture ARM and representing the biggest evolution of Atom since its 2008 arrival.
Codenamed Bay Trail and scheduled for a late 2013 release, multiple versions will see it become an all-encompassing platform. It will replace Cedar Trail for Intel desktops and notebooks, Oaktrail for tablets and Queensbay for embedded devices.
Valleyview, the 22nm system-on-a-chip (Soc), brings improvements in performance for both CPU and GPU. Codenamed Silvermont, the CPU will bring out-of-order executions to Atom, offering faster performance along with lower power-consumption, and will be available as quad-core, dual-core and single-core processors.
Bay Trail sees Intel return to using its own graphics processors instead of previous systems licensed from PowerVR, with Atom powered by Intel-produced GPUs featuring four execution units. That's fewer units than the Ivy Bridge HD 4000 and HD 2500 GPUs, while offering the same graphical capabilities with likely support for DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0
Manufacturers could potentially use Intel's Bay Trail to produce Windows tablets that are similar to, or possibly improvements on, the performance, battery life and cost of devices based on ARM technology.
However, it's unlikely Intel's rivals will ignore the leaked plans, and it's conceivable that ARM is already working on improvements to its current systems.
ARM also maintains the advantage of iOS and Android apps being developed for its platform first, and with Intel's Android processor not quite as good as it could be when it comes to binary translation, ARM may not have anything to fear in this department.
Nevertheless, Bay Trail looks as though it will give Intel a much-needed boost as it bids to compete with ARM on mulitple fronts.