Intel prepares for new wave of mobile computers

During the opening keynote speech at Computex, Intel Executive Vice President Sean Maloney outlined the significant changes Intel is making to enable the new category of mobile computers, and reiterated Intel’s push to accelerate the pace of innovation for system-on-chips. “Computing is taking many forms,” said Maloney. “Technology innovation is a catalyst, and we believe the changes Intel is making to its roadmaps will bring about an exciting change in personal computing over the next few years.”

Maloney described three key phases in the company’s strategy to accelerate the vision, which begins to unfold with the company’s latest 2nd Generation Intel Core processors. This family of products will enable thin, lightweight designs that are less than 20mm thick.

Accelerating the Intel Atom Processor Roadmap

Maloney highlighted key milestones and additional details on upcoming generations of Intel Atom processor-based platforms for tablets, netbooks and smartphones. The Atom processor will outpace Moore’s Law, accelerating from 32nm through 22nm to 14nm within three successive years.

Having a cadence of a new-process-generation every year will result in significant reduction in transistor leakage, lower active power and an increase of transistor density to enable more powerful smartphones, tablets and netbooks with more features and longer battery life.

Ivy Bridge

Building on the latest 2nd Generation Intel Core technology, Maloney outlined the next generation Intel processor family codenamed “Ivy Bridge,” which is scheduled for availability in systems in the first half of 2012. “Ivy Bridge” is the first high-volume chip based on Intel’s 22 nanometer manufacturing technology that uses a revolutionary 3-D transistor design called Tri-Gate, announced in May.

Maloney also highlighted the fact that more people and devices connecting to the Internet will lead to growth in cloud-based services for storage, synchronisation and entertainment. He said that one new Intel-based server is needed for roughly every additional 600 new smartphones or 122 new tablets connecting to the Internet.

Maloney also reiterated the company’s “Cloud 2015” vision of a world of interoperable “federated” clouds that allow enterprises to share data securely across public and private clouds; “automated” networks that allow the movement of workloads between servers in the data center for better utilisation and energy efficiency; and “device-aware” clouds that know what types of applications, commands and processing are being used by the devices.

Cedar Trail

Reaching its 100 million-unit milestone this month, Intel is preparing its next-generation netbook platform, codenamed “Cedar Trail.” “Cedar Trail” is the first netbook platform based on Intel’s 32nm technology, and will feature:

  • ultra-thin, fanless designs
  • new capabilities such as Intel Rapid Start technology which provides fast resume
  • Intel Smart Connect Technology which enables an always updated experience even during standby
  • Intel Wireless Display and PC Synch, which let users wirelessly update and synchronize documents
  • More than 10 hours expected battery life and weeks of standby

“Cedar Trail” will also support leading operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, Google Chrome and MeeGo.

In addition, Maloney showcased more than 10 tablets, running on three different operating systems, that are available today based on the Intel Atom processor Z670. The platform already has more than 35 design wins since its launch in April, with several convertibles, sliders and other designs on shelves now and more coming through the rest of the year.

Medfield

Maloney also discussed “Medfield,” Intel’s first purpose-built 32nm platform for smartphones and tablets.  “Medfield” has been optimized for both low power and high performance and will deliver long use-time, media and gaming, as well as advanced imaging capabilities.  To illustrate this point in tablets, Intel showcased a “Medfield” design running Google Android 3.0 (“Honeycomb”) for the first time. In production later this year, the platform will enable sub-9mm designs that weigh less than 1.5 pounds for tablet designs in market the first half of 2012.

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Intel prepares for new wave of mobile computers