Intel Hits CES Stage With Atom, Core Chips for Mobile Devices
Intel's booth on the floor at CES was a massive structure of colorful lights and computing devices.
Building the Booth
Intel's booth includes 176 Ultrabooks that were put onto a huge "tree," being put together here by workers at the show. Ultrabooks—very thin and light notebooks that Intel officials first talked in 2011—are a key part of Intel's many-pronged mobile strategy.
During his talk at CES, Intel's Skaugen outlines the chip maker's plans to grow the number of Intel-based mobile offerings, from tablets to smartphones to Ultrabooks.
Ultrabook vs. Laptop
Skaugen holds an Ultrabook, left, next to a three-year-old laptop to show how far the industry has come during that time in slimming down notebooks, thanks in large part to the greater energy efficiency in Intel's Core processors, he said. The upcoming fourth-generation Core Haswell chips will not only enable even thinner and light devices, but also will help drive down Ultrabook prices to under $600, a key in driving adoption of the form factor.
Intel North Cape
At CES, Intel unveiled its reference design for a detachable Ultrabook, which officials called North Cape. The design calls for a device that can convert an Ultrabook into a tablet, a move that would bump up the already impressive battery life to as long as 14 hours.
Ultrabooks in Vegas
Intel is looking for Ultrabooks that are powered by both Atom SoCs and Core processors. Officials said they expect even more designs—from such OEMs as Lenovo and Acer—to start appearing to take advantage of the new 7-watt third-generation Core models and, later, the Haswell chips. In addition, Skaugen said that Ultrabooks based on Haswell chips will have to be touch-capable. Intel officials expect Microsoft's new Windows 8 OS to help drive sales of Intel-based Ultrabooks and tablets.
Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobile and Communications Group, talks about Bay Trail, the next-generation 22-nanometer Atom SoC, which will be in devices by the holiday season later this year. The quad-core chip will offer twice the computing performance of the current Atom tablet chips, and will enable tablets and other devices as thin as 8mm and with all-day battery life, Bell said.
Atom Processors for Smartphones
Bell talks with the media while various Intel-based smartphones are displayed on the screen behind him. He introduced a new line of Atom SoCs—formerly called Lexington—that are made for value smartphones in emerging markets, as well as the upcoming Atom Z2580 platform—Clover Trail+—aimed at performance and mainstream smartphones.
The Atom Z2420 is part of the value offering for emerging markets, which includes such features as Intel's Hyper-Threading technology, which enables the chip to hits speed of 1.2GHz. Officials said that such device makers as Acer, Lava International and Safaricom will put the new SoCs into upcoming smartphones.
Smartphone Reference Design
Intel introduced a smartphone reference design for the value smartphone market to help device makers leverage the new Atom platform.
Intel has been pushing an initiative it calls Perceptual Computing, where devices have the ability to recognize and respond to facial features and hand gestures and offer more immersive and natural experiences. Skaugen said onstage that the goal is to give computing devices "human-like senses" to enable users to more easily interact with their systems. Intel unveiled the Perceptual Computing SDK Beta, and officials, using an Ultrabook, showed off applications in which objects on-screen were manipulated with free movements of hands, fingers, eyes and voice.