Intel Corp. has announced that it will start shipping its tablet specific Atom Z670 processor which brings in improved battery performance and enhanced video capabilities.

The Intel Atom platform formerly codenamed Oak Trail will wind its way into devices from May.

Intel also gave a sneak peek into its next generation of 32nanometer Atom platform, codenamed Cedar Trail which will usher in fanless netbooks and desktops.

The new Atom Z670 chip can support platforms like Google Android, MeeGo and Windows. The chip is 60 percent smaller than the earlier generation of processors and also offers faster processing, better video playback and improved battery life. The new chip also supports 1080p video playback.

Over 35 devices based on Oak Trail platform from companies like Fujitsu, Lenovo, Motion Computing and Viliv are due in 2011.

Intel has been left behind in the tablet and smartphone race while ARM-based chips designed by Nvidia,  Samsung and Qualcomm are ruling the roost. Apple's recently launched dual-core SoC A5 is also ARM-based.

Also DigiTimes reported Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is recruiting talent for the development of Android driver software indicating the chipset vendor is also likely to offer notebook/tablet PC partners chipset solutions supporting the Android platform. AMD is hiring staff especially for creating Android drivers for its Fusion line of chips as it wants to diversify in to the ever-growing tablet and smartphone market.

AMD's foray into Android space can hurt Intel's plans for its Atom chips. AMD's Brazos chips, a product from Fusion platform, seem to be doing better than Atom in terms of graphics performance as well as heating, according to AnandTech.

Intel has until now been confined to Windows-based tablets and smartphones. However, its long term partner Microsoft also announced in January that its next version of Windows will support ARM-based systems from partners NVIDIA Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. Thus Intel needs to diversify and capture other platforms like Android.

Intel processors on Windows tablets are known to offer low battery life. PC Magazine reported that the Atom Z670 chip is a 45 nanometer SoC design which allows Intel to pack in more technology in a smaller die resulting in better battery life.

Intel is attempting to fix these loopholes in its chips for tablets and smartphones. However, chip makers who have been fitting their ARM architecture chips on Android devices are ahead in the game and Intel has a lot of ground to cover.