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Intel to announce mobile system-on-a-chip

Banias makes its debut

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Intel will take the wraps off its comms-oriented system-on-a-chip product that merges CPU, memory and data-processing DSP technology onto a single slab of silicon.

Based on Intel's XScale processor - derived from ARM's StrongARM technology - the chip will include Flash RAM and will be aimed at wireless comms products, such as smartphones and PDAs.

The chip has been announced before, as a concept, last autumn. It is perhaps better known by its codename, Banias. It's being designed in Israel by the team behind the company's ill-fated Timna SoC part.

The new chip runs at up to 1GHz, and the integration gives it a performance boost too. The connections between each of the chip's key components can operate at the same high speed. Simply connecting the memory directly to the CPU ensures the latter can be kept fed with data and program code.

The DSP element handles the network traffic. It can also process streamed multimedia data that will make users' PDA experience much richer, Intel believes.

Integrating components also means that devices using the chip will consume less power than kit that uses discrete parts.

The chip isn't likely to materialise as a commercial product any time soon, though Intel has begun producing early samples. The chip maker expects volume production to take place during the first half of next year. That said, previous reports from company insiders suggest that 2003 may be a more realistic date. ®

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