Intel's Mobile Future Lies On a Rocky Bay Trail

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Last week, Intel ( INTC), at its developer forum, launched its latest family of low-power systems-on-a-chip (SoC), codenamed "Bay Trail."

The chipsets are designed to shake up the status quo in the market place, and offer improved tablet performance and battery life, tablet/PC hybrids and other mobile devices. The SoC will be available for both consumers and businesses starting in the fourth quarter of this year. Hardware manufactures such as AAVA, Acer, ASUS, Dell ( DELL), Lenovo and Toshiba have already signed up to come out products supporting the new chipsets.

I recently sat down with Hermann Eul, general manager of Intel's Mobile and Communications Group to discuss what Bay Trail means for Intel as it relates to the mobile devices market.

Chris Ciaccia: "What can consumers expect in terms of performance, battery life from Intel's Bay Trail, as opposed to something that's based off Arm Holdings ( ARMH)?"

Hermann Eul: "Users can expect really great performance. They can expect stunning visuals, they can expect a powerful imaging engine, and they can expect wonderful battery lifetime. We already are measuring beyond 10 hours of battery life time, and our custom systems. We believe this will go a little higher, as they are in the process of fine-tuning the systems coming to the market. To this, we believe this is a very, very balanced package going into the market, and it will deliver new experiences that have not been seen at that power envelope and battery lifetime before."

Ciaccia: "In terms of new experiences, can you touch on what you think will happen?"

Eul: "We look at this as the market is so quickly changing. It is about us providing a platform, a powerful platform. We put a lot of work behind it, in case of our API's (Application Programming Interfaces) that we do. We put a lot of work behind it in terms of the optimization we do for any of the different operating systems that runs on this. We believe, deeply believe, that a lot of innovation will come out of this ecosystem, that then goes after it, and builds the application and comes up with new ideas that have not been possible before. This is what we want to do, lay the ground for, pave the road, that now this ecosystem can pick this performance up, and translate this into the next step that you might not have thought a year ago."

Ciaccia: "Will pricing for the chips be competitive with what's already in the market, or can Intel either undercut or charge a premium?"

Eul: "We believe the Bay Trail system, depending on how our customers position, depending on what components and what kind of quality they put behind that, we believe that we can bring this down to system price points of $199."

Ciaccia: "As far as I'm concerned, the big push is not to rely on just Windows-based machines, but also Google's ( GOOG) Android-based OEM's. How important is expanding multiple OS's (operating systems) to Intel's mobile future?"

Eul: "We have a tradition of being agnostic towards operating systems, actually so to speak, forever. There has been a predominant operating system, but in the server space, it was always Windows, it was always Linux. We have a long tradition of this. Now, there's Chromebooks out, there's Windows books out. We're doing the same in the tablet space as well. We respond to what the market needs, what our customers ask us for, and we support that."

Ciaccia: "64-bit chips will start to come at the beginning of next year. Is that process being sped up with Brian Krzanich coming on as the new CEO, or was that always the case?"

Eul: "The 64-bit capability is deeply embedded into the architecture. The Silvermont architecture is 64-bit architecture. That has been developed for years. We anticipate that the market is going to ask for this. We deeply believe that this will also be big for enterprises. Enterprise systems, 64-bit will come sooner or later. 64-bit allows IT officers to manage their PC clients, their desktops, and their laptops all out of one hand. They can use all the technology that we bring, in terms of platform security, everything goes into this. As always, we believe that the ecosystem will look for 64-bit, and a must for us to do, and the market will adopt to it."

Ciaccia: "You touched on battery life earlier. When do you think we start to see battery life on phones and tablets not be a concern anymore, where you can go an exceptionally long period of time without charging?"

Eul: "We can go already in a way without charging, an exceptionally long time, sometimes as long as three weeks."

Ciaccia: "In terms of actual usage."

Eul: "It depends on the user. As we drive forward Moore's Law, every generation has a lower power consumption. Of course, we expect the 14 nanometer generations will again deliver a big, big push forward in terms of either processing power, or usage time on the battery."

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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