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Intel may phase out the Atom brand to shed the specter of netbooks

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Intel's new Haswell Core processors may currently be in the spotlight, but its well-worn Pentium and Celeron brands may also be getting a boost — at Atom's expense. According to a report from CNET, some versions of Intel's new Silvermont Atom processors, low-power ARM competitors destined for Windows PCs and Android systems, will ditch the Atom alias for Pentium and Celeron branding. CNET says the Atom chips headed to tablets will probably not be switched to Pentium or Celeron, but the move indicates that Intel could be interested in shedding the Atom name after the chips have suffered a bad association with underpowered netbooks.

It wouldn't be the first time Intel has used a name swap to disassociate its chips with underwhelming past performers; the company is making a very similar move with its Iris graphics, which have begun to displace the integrated HD Graphics chips that have accompanied a healthy share of PC motherboards for many years.