Intel might be the world’s largest semiconductor chip maker, but when it comes to smartphones they have yet to flex their muscles. Some might say they were caught off guard by the popularity of the iPhone and the wave of smartphones which followed it.
Way back in 2005, Intel directed their team to target mobile internet devices first and then move on to smartphones. What was the result? Almost every smartphone around now uses an ARM-based processor and not Intel’s x86 architecture.
Fast forward to today and Intel is finally unveiling their new Moorestown platform (Atom Z600), which they claim will be the world’s fastest when it launches later this year. The smartphone version of the chip will clock up to 1.5 GHz and includes Intel’s new GPU the GMA 600, which tops out at 400 MHz.
The Atom Z600 is a radically different approach to the current ARM architecture, so it is hard to give an apples to apples comparison, but Intel’s latest chipset is all about speed while maintaining an acceptable battery life.
I’m no microprocessor guru, so I’ll refer to my friend Anand who has produced a 16-page report on the Atom Z600. If you are into the all the details behind what makes Moorestown click, this is a must read.
“Thanks to an incredible amount of integration, power management and efficiency Moorestown has the potential to be the most exciting thing to hit the smartphone market since the iPhone.”Anand Lal ShimpiAnandtech
It all sounds too good to be true, so we will have to wait for final hardware to appear in order to get an accurate performance comparison. Intel is expected to ship the Atom Z600 processor in the second half of this year, so it’s entirely possible you could purchase an Android-powered Moorestown smartphone this Christmas.
Based on the current rumors and speculation, a Google TV product might be the first device to sport the new Moorestown platform. Google is said to be working with Intel and Sony and their prototype device is said to include an Atom processor.
No actual smartphones have been announced, but Intel was showing off the Aava Mobile device we saw at CES. Engadget was at the Intel event and managed to snap a photo of the Aava Virta specs, which give us a good idea of what to expect.
Finally, the last thing I will note is the interesting chipset battle shaping up between Google and Apple. Intel has said they have no plans to support Windows Phone 7 (or 8) with the first Atom Z600 processor, so Android is going to be the focus here. Apple has been rumored to be considering a purchase of ARM Holdings, which was debunked by many, but anything is possible in the tech sector.
Google and Intel vs Apple and ARM? More details coming later this year.