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Intel samples 'Medfield' next-gen phone chip

Chips, cash, and commitments

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MWC 2011 Intel has announced that its "next-generation phone chip", code-named Medfield, is now sampling to customers, with production scheduled for later this year.

The company is undoubtedly hoping that the proverbial third time will be the proverbial charm, seeing as how Medfield's two low-power mobile predecessors, Menlow and Moorestown, didn't exactly set the world on fire.

The announcement is just one of many Intel made at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, each designed to prove the company's relevancy in a computing world that's rapidly moving off your desktop and into your pocket.

"Through these efforts and others still to come," said Anand Chandrasekher of Chipzilla's Ultra Mobility Group in a canned statement, "Intel is bringing the full weight of its resources, technology investment and the economics of Moore’s Law to drive down costs and power requirements for new markets."

Other announcements focused on investments made by Intel Capital, on products from the Intel Mobile Communications group – the new moniker for Infineon's Wireless Solutions Business (WLS), the acquisition of which was completed at the end of last month after having been announced last August – and on the acquisition of a former technology partner.

Intel Capital announced a total of $26m in investments in six mobile-focused companies: Android software-integrator Borgs of Beijing; location-awareness tools-maker CloudMade of Menlo Park, California; video-management provider Kaltura of New York; InVisage, also of Menlo Park, creator of "quantum dot" image sensors; cryptography specialists working with Near Field Communication (NFC) phones SecureKey; and unified communication service and management provider VOSS Solutions of Reading, UK.

Intel also announced that in addition to these investments it would acquire Silicon Hive, an imaging, video, and communications semiconductor designer and IP holder with which it entered into a technology collaboration at this time last year, and into which Intel Capital had previously invested $7m.

"Silicon Hive's capabilities will aid in the delivery of more differentiated Intel Atom-based SoCs as multimedia and imaging grow in importance across the mobile smart device segments," Intel said.

The Intel Mobile Communications group touted a spurt of new chippery. The division's "new, compact, multimode platform XMM 7060" fits on a 700mm2 board and will provide quad-band LTE, penta-band 3G, and quad-band EDGE support when it begins sampling later this year, with products based on it scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2012. And, yes, that's LTE, and not its Intel-championed competitor, WiMAX.

Also from the Mobile Communications group comes the XMM 2138 dual-SIM platform "for separating business and private use or when roaming," according to Intel. Finally, the group announced the XMM 6260 platform, which it calls the world's smallest HSPA+ solution for 3G smartphones, and which it promises will provide "true 21Mbps downlink performance". Intel says the XMM 6260 platform is now shipping to "key customers". ®

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