Intel’s plans on mobile are starting to come together, we’ve been wondering when we were going to see a roadmap in markets where its chipsets for tablets and smartphones aren’t yet competitive. What Intel currently has on the market with Oaktrail isn’t cutting it against ARM & Nvidia chipsets which currently hold market share in the tablet ecosystem.
We’ve been waiting with great anticipation for Intel’s next iteration of chipsets code name Medfield which will be followed up by Clover Trail. This first system-on-a-chip for tablets
and smartphones will make or break Intel’s foothold in the mobile ecosystem. Medfield will arrive in the first half of 2012, followed by Clover Trail technology in the second half of 2012, Intel spokeswoman Suzy Ramirez told CNET. There are few details being released on the specifics of either chipset, but Ramirez noted that “Both Medfield and Clover Trail are targeted at tablet
designs but could also be used as tablet hybrids”.
Speculation around the chipsets them selves have us guessing that Medfield is going to be a single core SOC and Clover Trail with rock the dual cores. The interesting thing about this news is that it firmly places Clover Trail’s release dates perfectly in line with Microsoft’s released of Windows 8 which is also slated for the second half of 2012. A dual core processor is an ideal match for Windows 8 since all of Intel’s competition will be releasing dual core products at that time, a single core pairing would have the tablets appearing outdated before they even hit the shelves. We are currently assuming that Windows 8 will actually hit the streets in April, which is shy of a 2nd half of 2012 estimation, so we’d better hope that Clover Trail is ramping up for high volume production for whenever Microsoft is actually ready to go to market.
Medfield marks Intel’s move to a faster more powerful 32-nanometer system-on-a-chip Atom processor for tablets and smartphones finally departing from the 45-nanometer Atom processors.
Intel’s plans for Atom system-on-a-chip for tablets, hybrids, and smartphones :
- Medfield: first half 2012, single core, 32-nanometer
- Clover Trail: second half 2012, dual-core, 32-nanometer
- Silvermont: 2013, new Atom architecture, 22-nanometer
- Airmont: 2014, 14-nanometer
Source: Intel (with the exception of core counts, which Intel would not confirm)
This year is shaping up to be a real race in chipsets and operating systems, Its currently Android/Apple with their ARM based CPUs but Nvidia is banking thei graphics will out shine the pure ARM chipset in the iPad
as well as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments who are also strong contenders. Intel is facing some very stiff competition in the mobile space, which is a strong diversion from the laptop landscape!
Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are shipping dual-core ARM-based designs into products now with plans for quad-core later in 2012. And Apple’s next-generation A6 is rumored to be quad-core too. Is Intel too late with speculation that their SOCs will only have 2 cores? Its exciting times for mobile!