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Intel Outlines Atom CPU Plans Through 2014 for Smartphones, Tablets



In a push to stay competitive in the mobile market where smartphones and tablets are getting much of the attention, Intel is outlining its plans to reach that market with new Atom processors.

On the smartphone space, to compete against the lower energy requirements of multi-core ARM processors found on today’s Android, Windows Phone 7, webOS, and iOS phones, Intel will be releasing its Medfield processor in the first half of 2012. Clover Trail will arrive in the second half of that year, according to an Intel spokesperson to CNET. The company is saying that the Medfield and Clover Trail chips will be suitable for smartphones, tablets, and anything and everything in between.

Though not a lot of information is known about either chips, it is speculated that Medfield would be a single-core mobile CPU while Clover Trail will be a dual-core CPU. Intel is now downplaying the number of cores of its Atom-based processor, especially since those SoC units will go head-to-head against quad-core ARM-based CPUs made by NVIDIA and rivals when Medfield gets released.

Additionally, Windows 8 tablets could also be developed for Clover Trail chips as well, and recent speculation has it that Intel may be waiting to launch Clover Trail to coincide with Microsoft’s launch of Windows 8.

The company will be moving away from a 45 nm architecture to a smaller architecture moving forward, reducing it to 32 nm with Medfield and bringing it down to 14 nm with Airmont in 2014.

With a smaller architecture, Intel can squeeze in more computing power and/or drive more energy efficiency to drive longer battery life in between charges.

Here’s the release schedule for the chips:

  • Medfield: first half 2012, single core, 32-nanometer
  • Clover Trail: second half 2012, dual-core, 32-nanometer
  • Silvermont: 2013, new Atom architecture, 22-nanometer
  • Airmont: 2014, 14-nanometer
  • Additionally, as the company recently acquired Infineon’s wireless business, we can see an Atom-base SoC with integrated 4G LTE capabilities soon.

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