Intel has been a mere spectator as the smartphone and tablet boom dawned on the world scene recently led by Apple and Google. Mobile devices- smartphones and tablets use chips that are currently designed and licensed by ARM. The UK based company provides the efficiency and power handling versatility that is required by these small, compact and powerful gadgets.
Intel’s Midfield is the newest in its product line of ‘Atom’ processors. Taking a new step towards low power consumption gadgets, Intel is ready to challenge the monopoly of ARM based chips in mobile devices.
Prototypes of Smartphones and Tablets Rolled Out
Technology Review reviewed last week the prototypes of tablets and smartphones running on the Google based Android platform with Intel’s new mobile chip, the so called ‘Medfield’. The idea around building the prototypes are to act as reference designs for roping in manufacturers, to build these mobile gadgets based on Intel’s newest technology.
Single Chip Processor Design
A standard feature of ARM chips has been the system-on-a-chip design: a single silicon chip acts as the processor. But in previous Atom designs, this has not been the case. The processor was made from integrating two or three chips. This design is more power consuming than the all-in-one design. So Intel now finally has decided to come to the more power efficient single chip design for mobile devices.
The reviewed prototype by Technology Review ran on Google’s Android Gingerbread. It was dimensionally similar to the iPhone4 but a bit lighter due to the use of more plastic and less glass and metal. All in all, the handset matched the iPhone and the popular Android smartphones in performance and easiness of use. Intel says it has specifically made design changes in the chip to make web browsing and the use of apps faster. Things will get clearer when Intel based design start rolling out from next year.