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Intel wants Medfield in smart phones

New handheld device chip to storm ashore in mobiles

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Intel has said it wants its chips inside smart phones, with Medfield being the beachhead device.

Intel boss Paul Otellini has told Fortune magazine that he believes Medfield and its successors will be the means whereby Intel processors will power multiple forms of consumer and embedded electronic devices, including smart wireless phones, music players, household white goods appliances, and heart monitors.

Late last year the Reg wrote that Medfield was the next chip after the Moorestown system-on-a-chip (SOC), which itself follows on from the current Atom CPU, aimed at the netbook market. Moorestown integrates Lincroft, a chip integrating a 45nm Atom processor, graphics, memory controller and video encoder/decoder, with a second, and customisable, Langwell chip, which is an I/O hub for connection to wireless, storage, and display components.

Moorestown is too large a product to fit into a smart phone, but it should be okay for larger devices, up to and including netbooks. Medfield - being a single chip and built on the coming 32nm process - could be used in smart phones.

Intel hopes that products using it will appear in 2011. Typically, Intel implements a new micro-architecture, after it has transitioned to a new process. A 2011 timetable would allow no time after the 32nm transition. This would imply that Medfield, built on the new 32nm process, will be Moorestown collapsed onto a single chip but with no micro-architecture changes, such as a multi-core design.

Medfield was thought to integrate either an Intel-designed graphics core or an Imagination Technologies PowerVR-derived core, better suited to hand-held Internet tablets because of its low power consumption, and thus better able to compete with ARM-powered hand-held devices. There is no clarification on this point and there may be two different flavours of Medfield, one for mobile phones with PowerVR graphics, and one for larger MIDs, with the Intel graphics core. ®

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