Intel Has a Diamondville in the Rough

Though details are scarce, the new chip is being geared toward low-cost notebooks in emerging markets.

Intel is preparing a new microprocessor code-named Diamondville, which the chip maker said is aimed at emerging markets and low-cost laptops, such as its own ClassMate PC and the One Laptop per Child project.

At the Intel Developer Forum in Taiwan, which ran Oct. 15 and 16, Mooly Eden, the Santa Clara, Calif., companys vice president and general manager of the Mobile Platform Group, offered some details on Intels plans for both the "Silverthorne" processor, a low-power chip that Intel executives discussed at the 2007 IDF in San Francisco in September, and the new Diamondville processor.

While Silverthorne is designed for what Intel calls MIDs (mobile Internet devices), Diamondville was built to work with a new class of highly durable laptops designed for emerging markets, such as the ClassMate PC and the much talked about OLPC project, under the direction of Nicholas Negroponte.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about the controversy between Intel and the OLPC project.

In several speeches this year, Intel CEO Paul Otellini has talked about moving the company toward developing processors for the next generation of ultramobile, ultraportable devices as customers increasingly look for mobility and greater Internet access.

This emphasis on mobility also fits in with the companys desire to expand into emerging markets, where customers are looking for notebooks and MIDs that use less power and are easily transportable compared with traditional desktops. Its also a chance for Intel to increase awareness of its brand in markets with a huge, untapped customer base.

For enterprise customers, the increasing emphasis on sub-$100 and sub-$200 notebooks could also mean that the overall cost of mobile hardware—laptops and MIDs specifically—will continue to decrease as these less expensive but well-performing components come into the market.

Much like Silverthorne, Diamondville is still shrouded in secrecy. An Intel spokesperson told eWEEK that Edens talk at the IDF in Taiwan was only meant to offer some additional guidance related to Intels road map, not an announcement about a design win for the company with Diamondville.

Under its current design, the OLPC uses a microprocessor from Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices.

The Intel spokesperson added that Intel would begin offering additional details about Diamondville soon, which could mean that these low-voltage chips, along with Silverthorne, will be part of the companys family of 45-nanometer chips called "Penryn." The first of these processors, which work in workstations, servers, and high-end PCs, are due Nov. 12.

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