Intel Unveils Next-Generation Low-Power Atom SoCs

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2015-03-02 Print this article Print
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The new Atom x3 processors are aimed at entry-level devices, including smartphones, phablets and tablets, and offer integrated modems. They come in three models—the dual-core 3G (available now); the quad-core 3G-R (due in the first half of the year), and the quad-core x3 LTE (due later in the first half). All come with ARM Mali graphics and WiFi, Bluetooth and GNSS connectivity. In addition, the x3 LTE comes with near-field communications (NFC) capabilities.

The SoCs also will support Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system as well as Google Android, which Evans said is a key differentiator.

"We're a company that does Windows well," Evans said. "We think that [support of] Windows Mobile will be very, very important."

She also noted the partnerships with Rockchip and Spreadtrum and a reference design program for tablets as ways to speed Atom x3-based products into the market.

The new 14nm Atom x5 and x7 "Cherry Trail" chips are aimed at mid-range devices—a WiFi-only version of the x5 targets value systems in the $150 to $249 range—and come with an array of Intel features, from the RealSense 3D camera, WiDi wireless display and TrueKey security technologies to Intel's Gen 8 graphics. They offer full Windows and Android support and are integrated with Intel's XMM 726x LTE wireless modem.

The new x7 chips offer up to twice the graphics performance of the previous generation, Evans said.

Intel named a number of OEMs that are building systems for the chips, including Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Asus, Acer and Toshiba.

Also at the show, Intel is announcing its upcoming third-generation LTE modem, the XMM 7360, which offers up to 450 Mb/s downlink, supports LTE Broadcast and voice-over-LTE features, and includes energy-efficiency and interference mitigation capabilities. It's being tested now by partners, with the first commercial devices hitting the market in the second half of the year, the company said.

New connectivity technologies include the Wireless AC 8x70 multi-radio solution, Wireless-GNSS 2x00 location engine and Wireless-NFC 4000 controller.


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