After years of insignificant adoption among manufacturers, Intel is apparently throwing in the towel on smartphone chips. The company's ultra-low-power Atom line of processors has had a tough time competing with low-cost players like MediaTek and, obviously, the incumbent mobile SoC juggernaut, Qualcomm.
Specifically, Intel is cancelling the upcoming Broxton platform and the already-delayed SoFIA fully-integrated mobile chipset, both of which were slotted in the "Atom x3" family and designed specifically for smartphones and tablets. The tablet-focused Atom x5 and x7 currently based on the Cherry Trail platform will continue to ship, though it is unclear if that platform's successor - Willow Trail - will enter production or if it, too, has been axed (Intel did not comment on Willow Trail, as it was not expected to ship for some time). Read More
This week at MWC, Intel revealed its 2015 and 2016 mobile chipset lineup, as well as the fact that the company is adopting a similar naming scheme to its Core line of processors with these new chips. They've been dubbed x3, x5, and x7, and as with the Core processors, bigger is generally better.
Intel has long been something of a dark horse in the mobile industry. The company has seen negligible penetration in smartphones to date (though not none) and competes almost exclusively in the low to mid-range segment in Android tablets. Of course, as the ultraportable market changes and small, super-thin laptops and convertibles become more common, Intel is swooping in with design wins left and right, keeping the likes of Qualcomm, NVIDIA, MediaTek, and Samsung out of a lucrative market. Read More
Intel's progress into the Android ecosystem hasn't exactly been earth-shattering. The number of high-end and mid-range smartphones equipped with an ATOM CPU still number in the single digits, making the x86 architecture a fairly low priority for app developers. In addition, Intel's emulator images have always lacked support for the Google APIs, leaving developers without the ability to test common staples like Google Maps or push messaging. Fortunately, that issue was recently rectified with KitKat as Google and Intel have finally shipped an x86 system image with Google API support.
Ok, so testing Android apps with Google-specific features on an ATOM emulator probably doesn't sound terribly exciting, but there's a major upshot: developers can finally use HAXM without making sacrifices! Read More
ARM still dominates mobile devices more than two years after Intel started making chips suitable for Android phones and tablets. The company is taking another swing at it in 2014 with the newly announced Merrifield and Moorefield chips. These processors pack updated GPUs, new 64-bit architecture, and an efficient 22nm manufacturing process.
The Merrifield chips are now officially known as the Z34xx family. According to benchmarks produced by Intel, the dual-core Z3480 processor is capable of besting the Snapdragon 800 and Apple A7. Although, those SoCs are well into their life cycle while the Z3480 isn't due out for a few months. Read More
For some reason, Samsung played a bit coy when it announced a pair of new Galaxy Tab 3 models yesterday, and left out the long-rumored Intel chip powering the 10-inch version. This morning Intel let loose with a little PR of its own, finally verifying what Reuters tentatively confirmed: there's Intel inside. The 1.6Ghz dual-core processor powering the Android 4.2 tablet is part of Intel's Clover Trail+ line. With Samsung's massive market presence, the Tab 3 10.1 could easily become the best-selling Intel Android device yet.
Also inside the 3G HSPA+ and LTE versions of the 10-inch Tab 3 is an Intel radio, included in the Clover Trail+ system-on-a-chip. Read More
You think it's over? It's not over until ASUS says it is. And in addition to a handful of other hardware announcements at Computex, they've pulled the wraps off of a pair of more standard tablets in their MeMO line. The 10-inch MeMO Pad FHD (for "Full HD," we presume) is the more interesting of the two, thanks to its 1920x1080 screen IPS screen and unconventional Intel Atom processor. The MeMO Pad HD 7 is a slight refresh of the original, budget-friendly MeMO Pad, this time with a high-res screen and a quad-core processor.
The MeMO Pad FHD 10 comes with an Intel Atom Z2560 CPU running at 1.6Ghz - a Clover Trail model, and the first dedicated Android machine from ASUS to use Intel chips. Read More
Today at Computex 2013, ASUS' Chairman Jonney Shih gave birth to no less than 11 products in a span of less than an hour, a surprising rate of fire we're not used to even at flagship events like MWC or CES, let alone Computex. Not bad at all, ASUS.
Undoubtedly, the most interesting and important announcement was the Transformer Book Trio, "the world’s first three-in-one mobile device." The Trio actually consists of two pieces:
- An 11.6" tablet with a 1920x1080 IPS display and 64GB of internal storage onboard, powered by a mobile-friendly 2GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2580 chip (32nm Clover Trail+).
At the moment, mobile platforms are vastly dominated by the ARM architecture, licensed to pretty much every major chip/phone maker out there. That isn't stopping Intel from pushing forward with its x86 mobile chips. The latest taker for the Atom line is Chinese manufacturer ZTE, with the oh-so-appropriately-named ZTE GEEK. The 5-inch smartphone was announced at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.
The GEEK is built around the Atom Z2580 chip, a 2.0Ghz dual-core processor that uses Intel's 32 nanometer fabrication process. (It's even got the familiar "Intel Inside" badge on the back.) It's only the second commercial phone announced that uses the CloverTrail+ series of chips, behind the Lenovo K900. Read More
Intel, not to be left out of the early CES fun, had a couple of announcements for tech fans today – a low-powered platform formerly known as "Lexington," (lovingly called Atom Z2420) for "emerging" value smartphone markets, and the Atom Z2760, codenamed "Bay Trail" headed for tablets and higher-end smartphones.
Intel says that it's already found partners in Acer, Lava International, and Safaricom for the Z2420 platform, and that the chip will be capable of 1.2GHz speed, 1080p hardware acceleration, and support for two cameras (with burst mode). With the Z2420, Intel is hoping to target what most call the budget smartphone market, which their release indicates will reach 500 million units by 2015 according to "industry sources."
The high-end Bay Trail SoC, meanwhile, is a quad core, 22nm chip that Intel hopes will expand tablet prospects in both the Windows 8 and Android arenas. Read More
Speaking to Pocket-Lint at today's unveiling of the RAZR M and RAZR HD, Motorola has reportedly confirmed that the RAZR M will be announced in the UK with an Intel chip, ousting the Qualcomm S4 found in the US Verizon version. Pocket-lint says the device will also get a "name change," but that just may be referring to the dropping of the DROID branding.
What we've seen of Intel phones so far hasn't been too impressive, so let's hope Motorola has managed to tame the Medfield-based Atom processor into something you'd actually want inside your smartphone. There's no word on LTE support, either. Read More