Investors aren’t the only ones betting on the decline of Microsoft Windows: Intel is working with Google and hardware partners to get its chips into a bunch of Android tablets this year.PC makers like Asus had already said they were building Android tablets based on Atom, Intel’s low-powered chip for portable devices.
But earlier this week, an Intel exec confirmed that its newest version of Atom — previously codenamed Oak Trail — will show up in tablets running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) later this year
Then today, Taiwanese publication DigiTimes said that Intel is working with Acer, Lenovo, and Cisco, as well as Asus, on the new tablets, and will make a big strategy announcement in the third quarter of 2011. DigiTimes also reports that Intel is paying a subsidy of $10 per unit to tablet makers to build market share.
The Android tablets that have shipped so far, like Motorola’s Xoom, run on chips designed by Intel rival ARM.
Intel isn’t about to abandon Microsoft — Windows PCs and servers are still going to be around for years, and will account for a huge chunk of Intel revenue. Plus the first Android tablet, the Motorola Xoom, hasn’t exactly been flying off the shelves.
But it’s still startling given that the companies were once so conjoined that the industry called them “Wintel.” Microsoft built its first products — computer programming languages — to run on Intel processors, and its desktop and server operating systems have always been Intel-exclusive.
Now, Microsoft is building the next version of Windows to run on ARM processors, and Intel is making sure its new chips work with Android. The Wintel duopoly is truly dead.