Intel Talks up Tablet & Phone Processors

Intel is talking up its partnership with ASUS on the 7″ Android-based Fonepad, at Mobile World Congress, and said its new Clover Trail+ chip (pdf) has double the performance and triple the graphics capabilities of its predecessor.

Clover Trail+, using 32nm process, is Intel’s first dual-core chip for smartphones, and the successor to Medfield. The performance boost comes at the same level of power consumption as Intel’s prior offering, reports C/Net.

Intel says Clover Trail+ comes in three variations: 2.0 gigahertz, 1.6GHz, and 1.2GHz. The processors come with an Intel graphics media accelerator engine with a graphics core supporting up to 533MHz with boost mode.

Clover Trail+ likely will be a short-lived chip, though. Intel will transition to 22 nanometers and a new architecture later this year with the Merrifield chip. The company didn’t give many details about the 22-nanometer processor for smartphones, beyond saying it “will help enable increased smartphone performance, power efficiency, and battery life.”

Intel’s 22-nanometer chip tablet processor, dubbed Bay Trail, is Intel’s first quad-core Atom chip. It doubles the performance of the company’s current-generation tablet chip. Bay Trail should be available in time for this year’s holiday season.

Intel also doesn’t offer a multimode LTE processor, which allows phones to access older networks in locations where 4G isn’t available. The company today said that will change in coming months as Intel starts shipping its multimode processor. The chip, dubbed the XMM 7160, supports LTE, DC-HSPA+ and EDGE.

In smartphones especially, Intel faces a tough battle against entrenched competitors, notes ArsTechnica. Apple and Samsung are content to make their own chips for their phones and tablets, and Qualcomm’s successful Snapdragon SoCs (plus its many LTE-supporting modems) means that ARM chips are likely to remain a mainstay in this market segment, especially in the US. Nvidia’s Tegra 4i and its own integrated modem make a strong case for midrange phones, as well.

One of the most intriguing new phones being unveiled this week in Barcelona, may be a sleek new Windows model developed in Redmond, notes Brier Dudley in the Seattle Times.

The i-mate handset, with a 4.7-inch touch-screen display, runs on Intel’s “Clover Trail” hardware and Windows 8 Pro, so it’s a full-blown PC capable of running most desktop software.

Called the Intelegent, the device could go on sale this summer for $750, which is less than the price of an unlocked iPhone 5 with the same amount of storage capacity. It has an Atom processor, 2 gigabytes of RAM and 64 gigabytes of storage. It’s designed to work with HSPA+ and LTE 4G wireless networks and have up to 10 hours of talk time.

I-mate will sell the phone alone or as part of a $1,600 desktop hardware suite including a docking station, called the “hub.” Docked in the hub, the phone can be used with a traditional, wired phone handset or make video calls. It also functions as a desktop PC — powering a 23-inch touch-screen display, keyboard and mouse — and drives an auxiliary wireless tablet with a 10.1-inch, 1080p display.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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