Intel, Cisco, AMD Eye the Internet of Things
AMD officials are looking to make a significant mark on the entire embedded space, and will do so with both x86- and ARM-based offerings, part of the vendor’s initiative to give customers and users platform options. For its part, ARM in March unveiled the Cortex-MO, which officials said brings 32-bit computing into the same space and a smaller power envelope than current 8- and 16-bit chips. ARM is targeting the Cortex-MO+at intelligent sensors and smart control systems for a wide range of uses, from home appliances and white goods to medical monitoring, metering, lighting and power. Charlene Marini, vice president of marketing for ARM's embedded business, noted during AMD’s announcement that ARM last year sold 4.1 billion chips into the embedded space, and that partnering with AMD will help the company extend its reach into an embedded market that VDC Research has said will grow from $11.6 billion this year to $15.5 billion by 2016. During his keynote, Intel’s Krzanich said the new Quark chips also will help drive the company’s x86-based architecture into new areas. It also will be synthesizable, which means other companies will be able to build their own IP on top of the SoC. Quark will enable the continued development of intelligent systems, Intel President Renee James said during her IDF keynote. “All of [the new intelligent systems] will be connected,” James said. “All of it will be able to compute.”“It’s a large market, it’s a growing market, and we’ve been looking at it for a number of years,” Marini told eWEEK. Cisco’s nPower X1 will offer 400G bps throughput, with all packet processing, traffic management and I/O functions integrated on the chip. According to the company, it also enables solutions with eight times the throughput compared with Cisco’s previous best network processor, and with a quarter of the power per bit. Cisco officials are scheduled to roll out some networking solutions that feature the nPower X1 chip during a Webcast Sept. 24.
ARM’s Marini said it’s difficult to assess Quark right now because there is so little known about it. However, she questioned whether Intel could make much money from such SoCs, given the relatively low margins when compared to traditional server and PC chips. Marini also said Intel will have to play catch-up to ARM and other vendors.