Intel: Quad-Core Atom CPUs a Possibility; LTE Support Coming in 2013
Intel, which is trying to break into the smartphone space with its Atom-based mobile processors for Android devices, is working on improved chipsets for future phones to rival ARM Holding’s architecture, which has been dominantly used in many devices today, including Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy series, and HTC’s One series devices. So far, the most recognizable device that bears Intels’ chipset is Motorola’s RAZR i, a device with an Intel Medfield processor, however that phone won’t be headed to the U.S. The main reason for that is because American carriers are now focused on 4G LTE support, and so far Atom CPUs do not offer that.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Intel’s product marketing head Sumeet Syal revealed that the company is looking to have 4G LTE support in devices starting at the end of this year with more 4G LTE smartphones with Intel CPUs inside in 2013. Hopefully, with 4G LTE, Intel can make a break into the competitive U.S. smartphone market.
And that’s not all, Intel is looking at dual-core Atom chips as well. As the Atom processors use hyperthreading, Intel says that Atom and Medfield are outcompeting many rival smartphones with multi-core processors. Current-generation smartphones with Intel chipsets run on a single-core. When TechCrunch had asked Syal about quad-core possibilities, Syal would not comment but had this to say:
“You have to take a look at how many instructions per clock can the architecture handle — our belief is that others are throwing cores at the issue in terms of getting more performance. We make that determination based on our architecture so we felt very comfortable coming out with a single core dual-threaded for our first product, and as we’re able to get more and more performance in the right implementation of the architecture we believe putting in dual-core would be the right thing for our next generation product.”
Another area where Intel needs to catch up with is app compatibility. Despite working closely with Google, not all Android apps are compatible with Intel’s x86 architecture as many of the Play Store apps are designed for ARM. One big app that isn’t so far compatible is Google’s Chrome browser, though Motorola says that should be fixed by the time the RAZR i launches.