It’s safe to say that Intel has not really done too much in the smartphone or tablet space so far. It has had a couple of aborted attempts in the past, but 2012 is shaping up to be a big year for the company, as its Medfield chip gets ready to challenge ARM’s dominance.
Intel gave MIT’s Technology Review prototype smartphones and tablets equipped with the latest Atom chip, the 32nm mobile-specific chip, codenamed Medfield. Known as reference designs, the devices are sent out to inspire and instruct manufacturers interested in building products around Intel's latest technology.
It was running the Gingerbread version of Android, with the article saying it was “powerful and pleasing to use, on a par with the latest iPhone and Android handsets."
Stephen Smith, vice president of Intel's architecture group, said: "We expect products based on these [chips] to be announced in the first half of 2012." We are expecting to see a smartphone and/or tablet unveiled by Intel CEO, Paul Otellini at his keynote address at CES on 10 January.
Smith said Intel has built circuits into the Medfield chip specifically to speed up Android apps and web browsing. The eight megapixel camera on the phone also had a burst mode, capable of capturing 10 full-size images at a rate of 15 per second – thanks to image processing circuits build into the Medfield chips.
Looking at the tablet, which was using the same chip as the phone, it was running Ice Cream Sandwich with a slightly larger screen than the iPad 2 but the same thickness and weight. Like the smartphone, the tablet was able to play Blu-ray-quality video and stream it to a TV if desired while web browsing was smooth and fast.
Previous Atom designs spread the work of a processor across two or three chips, a relatively power-intensive scheme that originated many years ago in Intel's PC chips. But now Intel has finally combined the core functions of its processor designs into one chunk of silicon.
Do you think the Medfield chips will make much of an impression in the smartphone and tablet market in 2012? Let us know in the comments.
Source: Technology Review