Intel’s taking an interesting direction in marketing its latest Atom N2600 and N2800 processors, a.k.a. “Cedar Trail.”
Sure, the company is talking up all the whiz-bang stuff its low-power, 32nm chips can do for consumers, like pump out 1080 video and stretch battery life for to up to 10 hours. But Intel’s also betting that healthcare professionals also want some of that goodness in their gear.
Here’s what the company’s press release has to say.
In health care settings, the improved battery life and enhanced graphics means medical professionals can enhance patient care and bring infotainment services to a patient’s bedside. ARBOR technology will release a new patient infotainment bedside terminal, based on the Intel Atom processor N2800 that helps clinicians improve workflow management and work efficiency, reduce human error, and enhance healthcare quality.
Same old, new threats: iPad and ARM
No offense, but that’s not a very exciting implementation. And it’s unlikely one that will restore Atom as the go-to, low-power mobile processor. Netbook sales continue to wither in the face of tablets powered by ARM chips. And guess what? Tablets are starting to make medical computing inroads.
Yet Intel remains undeterred in the pursuit of powerful yet energy-sipping portables — press materials that stress netbooks notwithstanding.
Recently, the Intel revealed its Atom-powered (“Medfield”) Android smartphone reference design. And it’s been showing some pluck in the consumer space by taking on Apple’s MacBook Air with its own Ultrabook spec (though not Atom-based). Some promising Ultrabooks are already hitting the market.
But lets face it, what doctors want are portables with enough oomph to tear through medical records, images and references at blistering speeds, all while keeping them un-tethered for hours on end. The iPad’s not quite there yet, but that’s not stopping some medical professionals from trying.
What Intel needs to halt iPad’s encroachment into healthcare IT — and hence ARM’s — are awesome devices that play seamlessly and securely with hospital administration and records systems that are firmly rooted in Windows and x86 systems. (Atom is an x86 chip like the ones found in the vast majority of servers, desktop PCs and notebooks.) Technology Review’s warm reception of the Medfield smartphone and tablet reference designs are a good start.
This much is clear: the greening of healthcare IT is already underway. Atom’s role in the transition will hinge on how quickly and successfully it can shed its netbook roots.
Image credit: jfcherry – Flickr – CC
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