Intel Atom Processors Destined for More Embedded Devices

Intel rolls out four new Atom processors, designed to fit into a wider variety of devices and applications, including mobile and wireless devices such as smartphones, ecotechnologies, industrial-strength applications and so-called infotainment devices in cars. Intel says it believes the business of low-cost chips for these embedded devices will grow greatly in coming years.

Intel has introduced four new versions of its Atom processors and two new system controller hub additions on March 2, adding to the chip giant's growing embedded product lineup, which includes smartphones.

The four additions to the Atom processor series present different package-size choices, allowing them to fit into a broader range of devices and applications, including smartphones, ecotechnologies, industrial-strength applications and in-car "infotainment" devices. The new products also include industrial-temperature options.

Those four chips are the Intel Atom Processor Z510P and Z510PT, with a core speed of 1.1GHz; the Z520PT, capable of core speed of 1.3GHz; and the Z530P, which can reach 1.5GHz.

Also on March 2, Intel and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing) announced a partnership allowing Intel to port its Atom CPUs onto TSMC's technology platform, expanding the Atom processor's reach into mininotebooks aka netbooks, MIDs (mobile Internet devices) and smartphones.

By extending the small Atom processors to embedded industries for purposes such as in-vehicle infotainment, industrial control and automation, and media phones, Intel said it believes it can insert itself strategically into the growing market for embedded products, which require low power usage and the ability to operate smoothly in unconstrained thermal environments.

"Today there are 5 billion devices connected to the embedded Internet," said Doug Davis, vice president of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, during a conference call where he referred to IDC research numbers. "There will be 15 billion by 2015."

Intel points to the Intel Atom Z5xx series in particular as having a package size and power envelope that will allow it to work well in smartphones, which provide Internet-based applications in addition to simple communications services.
"We can see these kinds of devices extending into the enterprise, with a very specific set of applications," Davis said. "We think there's an opportunity to extend the platform."

Click here to read more about the Intel Atom processor line's success in an otherwise moribund processor market.

Those Intel Atom processors designed for in-vehicle systems will be paired with the Microsoft Auto software platform, designed to provide drivers with features such as mobile device integration and speech recognition.

"We're excited to see them introducing new low-power-consumption Intel Atom processors targeted for in-vehicle systems," Greg Baribault, director of product management for the Automotive Business Unit at Microsoft, said in a statement. "Intel Atom processors and the Microsoft Auto software platform will provide scalability for the new era of advanced in-vehicle solutions."

The new products will be available in the second quarter of 2009.