Intel Unveils Broadwell Mobile SoC, Devil's Canyon 4GHz PC Chip

The chip maker's announcements at Computex also include a demonstration of a smartphone running on a SoFIA chip.

Intel Computex Broadwell tablets

Intel officials at the Computex 2014 trade show continued the company's push into the mobile space and new PC form factors, showing off its upcoming "Broadwell" processor for tablets and 2-in-1 devices and demonstrating a smartphone powered by a SoFIA chip with integrated wireless capabilities.

At the same time, Intel President Renee Jameson on June 3 also unveiled the latest Core i5 and i7 chips for PCs, including the Core i7 4790K—codenamed "Devil's Canyon"—the first Intel chip to run at up to 4GHz.

The range of announcements Intel made at Computex in Taiwan—including that the category 6-capable XMM 7260 LTE-Advanced platform is now shipping to customers for testing and will appear in devices in the coming months—back up CEO Brian Krzanich's previous statements that Intel's goal is to prove that if a device computes, it does so best on Intel Architecture.

"The lines between technology categories are blurring as the era of integrated computing takes hold where form factor matters less than the experience delivered when all devices are connected to each other and to the cloud," James said, according to Intel. "Whether it's a smartphone, smart shirt, ultra-thin 2-in-1 or a new cloud service delivered to smart buildings outfitted with connected systems, together Intel and the Taiwan ecosystem have the opportunity to accelerate and deliver the value of a smart, seamlessly connected and integrated world of computing."

Intel has been working to expand its presence in the mobile computing space, an effort that has ramped up since Krzanich took over the reins a year ago. At the same time, the company is looking to recharge the stagnant PC market by pushing new form factors, including convertible PCs and 2-in-1 systems, which can be used as either traditional laptops or tablets.

Intel executives expect 40 million Intel-based tablets to ship this year, more than the 10 million that shipped in 2013. James told the Computex audience that there currently are 130 tablet design wins that are on the market or on their way this year. More than a dozen are launching during Computex, she said.

Broadwell—which is called the Core M processor—is a key part of the mobile strategy, making Intel's Core technology a more competitive offering to ARM's low-power system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture, which is used in most tablets. At Computex, James showed off a 2-in-1 reference design running on a 14-nanometer Core M chip, which she called the most energy-efficient Core chip in Intel history. The reference design featured a 12.5-inch screen and a detachable keyboard.

Broadwell is the successor to the current "Haswell" chips and will offer greater performance and as much as a 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency, according to Intel. It also will offer greater graphics capabilities than its predecessor. Intel officials originally expected to begin shipping the x86 chip late last year, with Broadwell-powered products coming to market in the first half of 2014. However, manufacturing issues delayed the shipping of the chips. Krzanich in May said devices running on Broadwell chips will be on store shelves by the holidays, though they will probably miss the back-to-school shopping season.

Also at Computex, James made a call from a smartphone reference design based on a dual-core SoFIA solution, the company's first integrated mobile SoC platform for entry-level and value smartphones. The demonstration comes a week after Intel announced a partnership with Chinese chip maker Rockchip to build 3G versions of SoFIA for entry-level tablets, which are due in the first half of 2015.