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Nov 22, 2013

Intel Atom Tablet SoC Roadmap, 64-Bit Android Tablets Revealed

Right now, the Intel Atom system-on-chip line is at the Bay Trail generation, but the company is, of course, working on the next range, and preparing for what will come after. A roadmap for 2014 and 2015 has emerged actually.

Not too many years ago, it was doubtful that Intel would ever really get heavily involved in the system-on-chip market, but here we are. The Atom line already includes some platforms of that sort, even though they don't measure up well against ARM-based chips, marketing-wise. Intel isn't letting that deter it. In fact, it is quite determined to power many tablets in the coming two years. Moreover, it hopes to boost CPU prowess by a factor of five by 2016, and improve GPU performance by 15 times during the same time frame. The latter is especially important since NVIDIA's Tegra line is integrating Kepler graphics already, putting it in the same league as game consoles (Xbox, PS3, etc.).

According to the new roadmap that made its way to the web, Bay Trail will be succeeded by Cherry Trail in 2014. Cherry Trail is an atom range based on the 14nm manufacturing process and designed with next-generation graphics, plus Airmont CPU cores. There will be a dual-core Merrifield Atom chip for smartphones too, near the beginning of 2014, and a quad-core is scheduled for the second half too. 

Furthermore, an Atom SoC codenamed Sofie is being prepared for late 2014, for entry-level devices. The HSPA+ communications chip will be replaced by LTE in 2015 (ARM-based and, eventually, x86 as well). As for 2015, it will herald the Broxton chip, also based on 14nm manufacturing technology but with Goldmont CPU cores, plus Skylake graphics. Not much is known about them, but that's expected since it's not like Intel has much more than blueprints at this point. Even if prototypes exist, we won't get to see them any time soon, as they're doubtlessly a far cry from the intended, final product.

Intel Atom roadmap
Images credits to PC World

Microsoft Wants to Buy and Save Winamp

AOL recently announced that it would discontinue Winamp on December 20, 2013, but it turns out that the media player could get a chance to live on.

In a pretty unexpected twist of the story, Microsoft is reportedly interested in acquiring AOL’s media player and the Shoutcast service, even though no confirmation from Redmond has until now been released. TechCrunch is reporting via unnamed sources that Microsoft and AOL are already talking of a potential deal that could be announced by December 20, the date when Winamp is set to go dark. While it’s hard to tell what Microsoft would actually do with Winamp, this could really be the only way to see the media player living on beyond the AOL era, as millions of users across the world are still running it on either Windows or Android right now. We’ve asked for a confirmation from Microsoft on this, so we’re going to update the article when and if we get an answer.

The same source is adding that AOL is gearing up to announce the retirement of the Shoutcast media streaming service next week, so a potential Microsoft deal could include not only Winamp, but also the adjacent products. Of course, it’s hard to imagine that Microsoft would actually do something really good with Winamp, especially because the company already invests a fortune to make Xbox Music successful. Xbox Music is already available on several platforms, including Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, Windows Phone, iOS, and Xbox, while Winamp is only offered to Windows and Android users. At the same time, Microsoft already has some bad memories with music services, as the company developed and then killed Zune in an unfortunate story that’s probably still causing nightmares to Steve Ballmer.

On the other hand, seeing Winamp survive would indeed be great news for users across the world, as the media player is reportedly being used by millions of consumers on desktop computers.

Winamp download page
Image credits to Winamp

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