Intel has revealed high hopes for its freshly-branded Atom family, unveiling an Atom x3 variant it hopes will capture the Chinese market while also announcing plans to launch variants targeting the Internet of Things (IoT).
Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum Shenzen late last night, Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich was joined by Min Li, chief executive of Chinese chip giant and traditional ARM licensee Rockchip, to discuss the two companies' year-old strategic collaboration. The result: the Atom x3-C3230RK, a reference-design implementation of INtel's SoFIA system-on-chip designed by Rockchip. This, the pair claimed, has been snapped up with the first devices to launch - to include smartphones, tablets and phablets - later this year, in addition to the 45 design wins Intel had previously confirmed for the chip.
The Atom x3 SoFIA design is Intel's first to include an integrated baseband processor and 3G or 4G modem, something ARM licensees have been offering for quite some time. Moving away from a two-chip system to a fully integrated system-on-chip means a drop in power draw and a reduction in footprint, both major wins for any part targeting the mobile market. Intel has, however, indicated that it's not content with just mobile products: Krzanich confirmed plans to produce SoFIA variants with ultra-low power draw designed specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT) market, using their embedded modems to transmit data from remote locations outside the range of a Wi-Fi network. Development kits based around these chips and featuring Linux and Android support will, Krzanich announced, launch later this year.
Intel also showed off a prototype smartphone which integrates the first mobile implementation of Intel's depth-sensing RealSense camera system. This, the company claimed, offers a longer range than the standard laptop or standalone variant and could lead to similar functionality to Google's Project Tango system.
Other announcements made by Intel at the event include the shipping of low-end Braswell-based Pentium and Celeron components to customers, promising up to double the graphics performance of last-generation parts despite boosted battery life, the launching of the Mass Makerspace Accelerator programme to fund China's upcoming technology entrepreneurs, the opening of a joint IoT lab in Beijing with BII Group, and various IoT design wins.