Skip to Content

Intel Bets on Small Devices

The chip maker is pushing its products into smart phones.
April 10, 2009

At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing on Wednesday, Intel outlined a plan to put its low-power chip, called Atom, in ever smaller gadgets. Atom, released a year ago, initially targeted netbooks and mobile-Internet devices (MIDs) because of its minimal power requirements. But at IDF, Intel released plans for two new Atom chips and gave a demonstration of Moorestown, a chip package built around Atom that could start to show up in smart phones in 2010.

One of the new Atom processors, dubbed Z550, will run as fast as a two-gigahertz chip but use less than three watts of power, the company claims. Another Atom chip, the Z515, can handle speeds of 1.2 gigahertz but will use Intel’s “Burst Performance Technology,” in which the chip will experience surges of processing power based on the tasks that it needs to perform.

Earlier this year, Intel and LG Electronics announced that they would offer the first smart phone that uses Moorestown in 2010. This isn’t the first time that Intel has tried to break into the mobile market. But until now, ARM, the leading mobile-chip company, has maintained its dominance.

One advantage for ARM has been that it licenses its designs to chip foundries. This enables significant flexibility in the types of chips that are produced, so that they can be optimized for a given handset manufacturer. Intel, however, has always held its designs close, an approach that has made it more challenging to optimize Atom for so many different products.

Intel’s position has recently changed, however. In March, it announced a partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing under which Intel will license its technology to the foundry–a first for the chip giant. The partnership combines the world’s biggest foundry and the world’s largest semiconductor company. Both companies hope that it can extend their reach into mobile phones and MIDs.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

biomass with Charm mobile unit in background
biomass with Charm mobile unit in background

Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal

The startup used plant matter and bio-oil to sequester thousands of tons of carbon. The question now is how reliable, scalable, and economical this approach will prove.

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

Peter Reinhardt
Peter Reinhardt

How Charm Industrial hopes to use crops to cut steel emissions

The startup believes its bio-oil, once converted into syngas, could help clean up the dirtiest industrial sector.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.