Windows takes early lead over Android in Cherry Trail tablet battle

Acer said it will launch a tablet with Cherry Trail later this year

The new ThinkPad 10 will use Intel’s new Atom X5 or X7 CPU.

The new ThinkPad 10 will use Intel’s new Atom X5 or X7 CPU.

More Windows devices with Intel's Atom chips code-named Cherry Trail were announced this week, giving the Microsoft OS an early lead over Android, which is not yet in any tablet based on the new chips.

Acer said Friday it would launch a new Switch tablet-laptop hybrid with a 10-inch detachable screen later this year. Earlier this week, Lenovo announced the new ThinkPad 10 with Cherry Trail chips.

Intel officially announced Cherry Trail earlier this year, and the chips are designed to work with Windows and Android tablets. Microsoft's Surface 3, which started shipping earlier this month, is the only tablet available with Cherry Trail. More Cherry Trail tablets are expected to be shown by little-known tablet makers at the Computex trade show next week.

Most of the tablets with Cherry Trail have screen sizes of 10 inches or more. The Acer and Lenovo tablets will come with Windows 10, while the Surface will be upgradeable from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 for free for one year.

Many Android tablets run on the older Atom chips code-named Bay Trail. Intel has showed Android tablets with Cherry Trail, but company representatives have said tablet makers have shown more interest in building Windows devices with the Cherry Trail chips.

The new Atom chips deliver two times faster graphics performance than Bay Trail. But there hasn't been much of an improvement in CPU speeds, which means regular productivity applications may run at roughly the same speed as in Bay Trail. The chips also won't deliver any improvement in battery life.

Tablets and hybrids with Cherry Trail will support wireless charging and also have 3D depth-sensing cameras. The chip was used in Microsoft's HoloLens holographic computing headset that has been shown at Microsoft's events.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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