Intel has disclosed details of new Atom system on a chip (SoC) products aimed at smartphone and tablet devices, covering the gamut from value level through to high performance.
Branded as the Atom x3, x5 and x7, the new chips were disclosed in a blog posting late last week, but Intel has saved the full technical details for the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona this week.
The new chips finally bring to market products that were formally known by the codenames of SoFIA, in the case of the Atom x3 line, while the Atom x5 and x7 are the Cherry Trail successors to the existing Bay Trail Atom platform, first discussed at CES back in January.
"We feel that we're establishing a foundation that is solid and we will be building on this to deliver experiences in the mobile space that really will set the pace as to what customers want in this space," said Aicha Evans, vice president of Intel's Platform Engineering Group.
The segmentation of the new Atom chips reflects that of Intel's Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, with the higher number reflecting greater capabilities.
Thus the Atom x3 chips are aimed at the entry/value segment of the market. They are also Intel's first chips to integrate modem circuitry for mobile broadband capabilities onto the same silicon as the processor.
These are expected to ship in devices running either Android or Microsoft's smartphone version of Windows 10, Intel said, and have been produced in partnership with chip firms Rockchip and Spreadtrum, both based in China.
Three Atom x3 versions have been announced; the x3-C3130 is a 1GHz dual-core part with 3G modem, while the x3-C3230RK is a 1.2GHz quad-core chip also with 3G, and the x3-C3440 is a 1.4GHz quad-core processor with 4G LTE capability up to Cat 6, making it theoretically capable of speeds up to 300Mbps.
All three of the Atom x3 chips support just 1GB of memory, but interestingly, all three also feature integrated ARM Mali graphics rather than Intel's own graphics technology.
Evans explained that this is because the Atom x3 line ultimately derives from the Infineon SoC portfolio that Intel gained when it acquired Infineon, and the chipmaker wanted to focus on time to market instead of embarking on a redesign.
The x3-C3130 is available now, with the x3-C3230RK coming later in the first half of 2015, and the LTE chip expected in the second half of the year.
Meanwhile, the Atom x5 and x7 Cherry Trail chips are targeting Android and Windows 10, and are expected to appear in devices ranging from 7in tablets to 10.1in two-in-one laptop/tablet hybrid systems.
These chips are Intel's first Atom SoC on its 14nm fabrication process, and feature Intel Gen 8 graphics circuitry. The Atom x7 chips in particular are singled out by Intel as boasting double the graphics performance of the previous generation under some benchmarks.
Intel has not disclosed full technical details of these chips yet, but the Atom x7 line is being numbered as the Z8700 Series, with one chip clocked at 2.4GHz. The Atom x5 chips are segmented into the Z8500 & Z8300 Series. All of these chips support up to 4GB of memory.
The firm is also bringing some of its key user experiences to the Atom x5 and x7 platforms, such as the RealSense camera technology, Pro WiDi for connecting wirelessly to projectors, and True Key for secure authentication.
Intel said that systems based on the Atom x5 and x7 are expected from HP, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba and others, and these are due to hit the market within the first half of this year.
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