Intel dips into wearables, sub-$100 tablets and 22nm handsets
10th Sep 2013 | 23:15
Apple has the thunder, but Intel has the chips
New CEO Brian Krzanich noted the chipmaker wants to lead in "every segment of computing," though mobile in particular is the area Intel's got its lasers pointed on. It's not, however, going to be left behind when it comes to "ultra-mobile" offerings.
To that end, the company introduced Quark, a new line of tiny SoCs meant to deliver lower power and smaller size for products ranging from the "internet of things" to wearables. The tiny silicon as the bragging rights of being the smallest systems on a chip produced by Intel, amounting to one-fifth Atom's size while pulling one-tenth the power.
"Smartphones and tablets are not the end-state," Krzanich said in a statement. "The next wave of computing is still being defined. Wearable computers and sophisticated sensors and robotics are only some of the initial applications."
The Quark X1000 will get the fully synthesizable family up and running. While Intel shied away from numbers, Anandtech reported that it appears Quark will be under 10mm2 with a target power consumption of under 100mW.
Though Intel won't produce its own Quark-based products, the company is showing off prototype bracelets during IDF to show what's possible with the lower-power, embeddable chips.
The timing of Quark's announcement is particularly apt as ARM-using competitor just outed its Toq smartwatch. The first shipment of Quark reference boards are expected in the fourth quarter with solutions hitting the industrial, energy and transportation segments first.
Hitting the trail and then some
As if we didn't already expect it, Krzanich confirmed we will see Bay Trail, Intel's first 22nm SoC for mobile devices during IDF.
Krzanich also revealed that the company's next-gen LTE product, the XMM 7260 modem, is under development and expected to hit the market in 2014. It will bring LTE-advanced features with it.
The new boss also showed off Intel's next-gen Atom chip for smartphones and tablets, codenamed "Merrifield" and due in devices next year. According to Intel, customers can look forward to better performance, power-efficiency and battery life. You know, the usual.
He highlighted Intel's "Broadwell" system, silicon that takes advantage of the company's 14nm manufacturing process. The more power-efficient chips will start shipping by year's end, though PCs, as reported by PC World. Products running Intel's 14nm process tech aren't due to start rolling until the beginning of 2014, however, though when they come the devices should see a 30% power improvement over Haswell-level Core chips.
Users will find Broadwell hanging out in 2-in-1 (convertible tablets), fanless devices, Ultrabooks and various PCs.
Krzanich was far from done with future product talk, also showing off a fanless, Haswell Y-running Ultrabook with a TDP of 4.5W as well as a prototype handset running a 22nm SoC. The 22nm architecture gives the handset, according to Intel, a 50% jump in performance plus increased battery life.
The phone also zipped along in an LTE speed test demo and featured an LTE radio.
Finally, in a day of cheap devices, Krzanich said Atom-based tablets will hit below $100 (about £63, AU$107) this holiday season.
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