Intel unveils chip for inexpensive laptops at Taiwan tech show

Intel unveiled a new processor it says will revolutionize the information technology industry by powering small laptops at low cost, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report quoted Intel Asia Pacific VP and GM Navin Shenoy as saing that the Atom processor will enable millions more people around the world to access the internet.

Shenoy's announcement at a Taiwan computer show raises the stakes in Intel's efforts to best rivals like Advanced Micro Devices and Via Technologies in supplying chips for cheap laptops.

A version of the Atom can be used in mobile devices, iPhone-like tablets that provide a fuller internet experience than cell phones do.

But its key territory is what the company calls 'netbooks,' cheap notebook alternatives that are smaller and have fewer functions than standard laptops but also use far less power and are easier to carry around.

Several new laptops priced at less than $500 fall in this category.

Shenoy said that the Atom breaks with the Intel tradition of making faster and faster chips, which have an inherently higher cost.

By contrast, he said, the low-power Atom is relatively cheap to produce and exceptionally small, with 2,500 of the chips, each containing 47 million transistors, fitting on one 12-inch wafer.