Intel to Launch 'Atom' Mobile Chips at 2008 IDF

By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2008-04-02 Print this article Print

title=A Whole New Market} 

Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, believes that Intel can create a whole new market, since the Atom processors are not expensive to produce. Intel?ö?ç?ûs 45-nanometer process compared with older manufacturing allows the company to squeeze more chips?ö?ç?Âabout 2,500?ö?ç?Âonto a single 300-millimeter wafer, which greatly reduces costs.

?ö?ç?úDespite the fact that Intel is selling these chips at a much lower price, they are still going to be very profitable,?ö?ç?ÿ Kay said. ?ö?ç?úOne of the ways Intel is going to promote this new category is by pushing these chips out in volume.?ö?ç?ÿ

Pricing for the Atom chips ranges from $45 to $160 per 1,000 units shipped.

Some of the first OEMs to offer MIDs include Lenovo, NEC, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sharp and Clarion. Intel has also struck deals with several Internet service providers, including Clearwire, Sprint, T-Mobile, and several local companies in China, South Korea and Japan.

These devices will also have the ability to render rich media content, such as Web sites that contain Java script. In addition, Intel is announcing that Adobe is adopting its AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) technology for Linux-based MIDs.

In a briefing before the start of the 2008 IDF, Chandrasekhar said three factors must be in place to bring these MIDs to market: performance, Internet software compatibility and wireless connectivity.

?ö?ç?úIntel Centrino Atom processor technology will enable all of these and will enable Intel?ö?ç?ûs first ground-up platform for the mobile Internet device platform,?ö?ç?ÿ said Chandrasekhar.

While the Atom processor is compatible with Intel Core 2 Duo processors, the chip will use an in-order instructional pipeline. Unlike an out-of-order pipeline that breaks data apart and allows for instructions to run in parallel, an in-order pipeline means the core will have to accept one set of instructions first before moving onto the next step.

The Atom processors will also support two instructional threads, which will then allow two instructions to pass through with each cycle.

Since the Centrino Atom platform is a first-generation platform, Intel is already moving toward making improvements within a year?ö?ç?ûs time. The next MID platform, called ?ö?ç?úMoorestown,?ö?ç?ÿ is slated for release in 2009 and will include a processing core, graphics, video and a memory controller all on a single piece of silicon.

Intel will also get a performance boost with its Atom processors once the company begins shrinking its chips down to 32 and then 22 nanometers. Intel?ö?ç?ûs first 32-nanometer processors are expected to arrive in 2009.



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