Intel has unveiled its second-generation processor for mobile phones, personal digital assistants and other wireless systems - a prototype XScale-based chip running at 1Ghz and consuming 1.5 watts of power.
Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in California, Ron Smith, Intel's vice president of the wireless communications and computing group, said the XScale is an extension of Intel's StrongARM Risc-based processor series "but with a much broader range of performance".
Smith told the IDF audience that Intel plans to ship a 600Mhz version of the chip by the end of the year. "It's really going to open up a whole new range of applications on a handheld - the new design can be powered by a single AA battery," he said.
Dynamic voltage management, which enables Risc-based chips to support various clock speeds and power consumption levels, will be a vital part of the XScale architecture, according to Smith. Intel Media Processing Technology, the co-processor engine that enables more power efficient multimedia processing for the content-rich internet applications, will also be critical.
Based on Intel's 0.18-micron processor technology, the new micro-architecture will be supported by operating systems such as Microsoft Windows CE, VXWorks, IxWorks, Epoc and Embedded Linux from multiple vendors.
Smith said the scaleable architecture could support 1Ghz clock rates with a power consumption of just 1.5 watts at the high end, and a 200Mhz clock rate with power consumption of only 40 milliwatts at the low end, although running in the tens of milliwatts would be accompanied by a reduction in performance.
He added that Intel would make libraries of code available for the XScale architecture called XScale's Integrated Performance Primitives. He said these are operating system-independent meaning developers, original equipment manufacturers and software vendors can quickly develop new applications that can be ported to run on any Intel processor including StrongARM, XScale, IA-32 and IA-64.
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