Intel has raised some eyebrows by confirming that Clover Trail, the Atom chip targeted at tablets and subnotebooks, will not support Linux.
However, the company said that just because Clover Trail will not be supporting Linux initially, it does not mean that there won't be a Clover Trail version for Linux.
In a statement sent out to media, Intel reiterated that the "current version of Clover Trail supports Windows 8 tablets." However, Intel has plans to extend Clover Trail to Linux/Android, Intel spokeswoman Kathryn Gill told us. It is unclear how this chip will differ from the processor built for Windows 8. Gill said that Intel is "not commenting on the platform specifics or market segments that at this time."
"Stay tuned", she said.
Of course, Intel's strategy makes sense and should not be surprising. Intel needs to court Microsoft with a Windows 8-tailored processor and give traditional x86 tablet and subnotebook buyers a good reason not to defect to ARM territory. Intel needs a processor that looks compelling next to Nvidia's Tegra and rival chips from Qualcomm and Samsung. The thin line between sub-notebooks and tablets is a critical battlefront for both ARM and Intel. Intel cannot afford to give up notebooks, while ARM needs tablets to stand its ground. It is reasonable for Intel to focus on Windows 8 first and then look at Linux next.