Oct 20 AT 11:30 PM Taylor Wimberly 15 Comments

Intel on mobile, “2 years ahead of the rest of the industry”


What percentage of Android devices are powered by Intel? Google partnered with Intel on the first generation of Google TV devices, but we all know how that turned out. If you look at the smartphones and tablets of today, I would guess Intel has around zero percent market share. Intel thinks 2012 will be the year that changes, but we have been hearing that story for the last two years at CES.

Will 2012 finally be the year that we see Intel Inside smartphones and tablets in volume? All signs point to yes, but we have not learned of any design wins yet. Intel and Google recently announced they would optimize future versions of Android for Intel’s family of low power Atom processors, which are expected to be available in the first half of 2012.

The first mobile Atom processor debuted in 2010 and was called Moorestown, but it never made it into retail devices. Now the new and improved 32nm Medfield is ready to try and help Intel win some smartphone and tablets designs.

Thing should get really competitive in 2013 and 2014 thanks to Intel’s advantage in transistors. That’s when they plan to release their 22nm Silvermont and 14nm Airmont.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini described the challenges that both ARM and Intel architectures faced in the next few years during the companies Q3 earnings call. “As the need for computing performance goes up, both the Intel architecture and the ARM architectures face the same fundamental physics problems, which is more performance requires more transistors. I think at the end of the day in these markets, transistors are going to be a defining point of differentiation.”

Company CFO Stacy J. Smith described that Intel’s technology advantage was becoming very difficult for people to match. “At the end, it all comes down to we’re resolving these problems of physics 2 years ahead of the rest of the industry.”

Like I said earlier, it all sounds very impressive. We will wait patiently and see what products get revealed at CES in January. Hopefully Intel is able to be competitive with Snapdragon S4 and Tegra 3.

Source: Seekingalpha

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • semajhan

    Wow and I was sitting here waiting for qualcoms 28nm snapdragon s4…

  • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff

    Part of the problem I see with Intel is that I don’t think they’ve been devoting the same level of resources in their Atom series as compared to the Core series. Their chips run too hot and suck up too much juice. It sounds like 2005 and Prescott all over again.

    I’ll believe them when I see the chips, but with the kind of interesting core designs we’re seeing from ARM licensees with heterogenous chip architectures, I hope Intel doesn’t think they’ll win based on fab process alone.

    • wuwoze

      Unless Intel can achieve massive power saving at transistor technology level that can offset its massive power consumption at architecture level.

  • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

    Next year will be an interesting year for tablet computing. Windows 8 will be released and a whole bunch of tablet running Windows 8 will be available. With these x86 powered tablets and a x86 version of Android, we may no longer rely on the manufacturer to update the OS anymore. The question is, will Google enter the business of distributing an off-the-shelf OS? Or, will we still be relied on ourselves to compile the OS ourselves?

    • Lucian Armasu

      x86 tablets won’t be competitive with ARM ones battery life wise.

      • Darkseider

        Honestly I don’t think x86 tablets, Atom based, will ever be competitive on battery or performance. By the time Intel gets anything to market that is power efficient and performs well the Tegra 5, a.k.a Logan, will be out. Never mind the Stark (Tegra 6) which will incorporate elements of Project Denver according to nVidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang.

  • hector

    Are you sure they didn’t say “behind”? :-/

  • Darkseider

    Huh? I’m sorry but two years ahead of whom? AMD? IBM? Certainly not anyone using ARM SoC designs.

  • https://plus.google.com/117702410245683101961/posts Lucian Armasu

    Intel has been promising that since 4 years ago. Moorestown is not a very big improvement over current Atom chips, so it will still not be competitive against ARM. Plus, it still has fans. And Intel still won’t be competitive with ARM on energy consumption and chip cost. ARM has just announced Cortex A7 for 2013 that is 5x more efficient than current single core processors. Intel can’t even compete with current high-end ARM chips in power consumption, and these ARM chips are already starting to beat Atom in performance. Not to mention that they are not even in the game in the graphics department.

  • WickedToby741

    You have to wonder if future Droids will have Intel inside. With Google’s impending purchase of Motorola and they’re new commitment to developing for Intel processors as well as ARM, you have to wonder if Google will push Motorola to develop some phones and tablets with Intel processors. I know Google said that they aren’t going to get into the hardware business and will mostly leave Motorola alone, but a nudge every now and then wouldn’t be bad. It just seems that Google and Intel would want to bring to light the fruits of their new partnership, and short of a Nexus phone, Motorola makes the most sense to promote it.

  • CTown

    So, now there is going to be two design platforms for each Android release? The first being from an ARM-based SOC maker (like Qualcomm, TI, or NVidia) and the other being Intel?

  • tootpaste

    Intel and Intel Mobile Communications are two different entities right now. Intel Mobile Communications has chipsets in phones for many manufacturers; LG, Samsung, HTC and even Apple iphone 4.

    Personally, from what I see from an inside point of view there are many things lacking in a company of that size for example the ability to move quickly. Make a decision and execute. Easier said than done, but to put out some propaganda to make people aware Intel is in the game, far behind, is what my take on this is. Google and Intel is just another partnership.

  • BleedingEdge

    The big advantage Intel has is the process. They’re talking 22 and 14nm scale architecture and are releasing Ivy Bridge (successor to Sandy Bridge) processors in late Q4 this year. Those are 22nm chips.Current S3 and OMAP 4 chips are 45nm from what I’ve been able to find on the subject. As architecture scales down, so does power consumtion and thermal signature. The next milestones will be skylake and skymont in 2016, the latter being a 10nm process according to the Intel roadmap. So far they are ahead of scedule with the 2011 Q4 release of Ivy Bridge.

    With that kind of manufacturing capability they’ll have no problem laying the transistor quantity onto a die size that will that will be very competitve in terms of power consumption, heat generation and performance – even if it is x86.

    Besides, the next event after Skylake and Skymont is SkyNet so none of it will matter anyway ;)

  • RainCaster

    The Atom is present in a bulky/slow Android tablet running Froyo. It’s called the Cisco CIUS- look it up. Not well received, but a good first stab if it gets a follow-on ICS version.

  • Domdym

    Isn’t samsung building a 14nm production plant as we speak? The answer is yes. intel will have a more powerfull architecture using higher amounts of cache and a cpu capable of churning through more raw data and also compatible with higher amounts of ram. I think the samsung processors, tegra 3 & s4 will compete just fine with intel. But the draw back to intel is that old apps on androids market will possibly not work on x86