Intel may ditch netbookish Atom brand

atomIntel may be about to ditch the Atom brand after five years on the market. The company told CNET  that its next generation Silvermont chips will be use the Pentium and Celeron brand, and it has an explanation for the move, sort of.

Intel argues that some Silvermont chips will deliver performance comparable to mainstream Celeron and Pentium parts, based on Ivy Bridge and in some cases, Sandy Bridge cores. At the same time Atom doesn’t really have the right reputation. Most consumers associate it with slow netbooks and nettops.

It makes sense from a marketing perspective and we might have already seen the first step without even noticing. Last week Intel included three new Celeron M processors in its price list, but their product numbers correspond to Atom chips, rather than Celerons. The N2xxx series chips are based on the Valley View core, which was supposed to be used in next generation Atoms.

However, CNET was quick to point out that the change might not affect Silvermont chips aimed at tablets, which will probably not use Pentium and Celeron branding. By the looks of it, they might retain the Atom brand, which means future Atoms will power tablets and smartphones while Celerons and Pentiums will be reserved for laptops and nettops.