Intel pushes Atom into mobile arena with "Moorestown"

By on May 5, 2010, 4:05 AM
Intel made official today the release of the new Atom-based platform code-named “Moorestown”, crafted specifically for power conscious smartphone and tablet devices. Moorestown aims to offer substantially superior performance over current generation mobile devices without compromising power consumption.

The mobile platform Intel announced is known as a “system on a chip”, or SoC. This means Moorestown is actually not just a processor, but rather a bundle of technologies which include an Atom Z6xx CPU (Lincroft, the 45nm successor to Menlow), a MP20 controller hub (Langwell) and Briertown (Mixed signal IC). The new platform is expected to scale to 1.9GHz and decode 1080p video on-the-fly with built-in hardware graphics acceleration while still achieving roughly five hours of video playback or 10 days of standby time powered by a typical 1500mAh smartphone battery.


Open Peak's OpenTablet based on Moorestown

In contrast to Intel’s claims, one analyst questioned the viability of Intel’s new platform in the smartphone arena. An analyst at Rodman & Renshaw reminded us that Intel publicly announced only the next iteration of the Atom would offer power consumption low enough for smartphones; Unfortunately, Moorestown is not it. For this, we'll have to wait for the 32nm Cedarview which probably won't debut until 2011.

Despite Intel’s encouraging announcement, devices slated to show off Moorestown are not expected to hit production until the second-half of 2010. One such device will be the recently delayed LG GW990, a smartphone that features the “MeeGo” operating system. Also the foundation for Moblin, MeeGo is a heavily optimized Linux variant built specifically to take advantage of the Atom platform.

The mobile chipset market is a crowded one with huge industry players the likes of which include Texas Instruments, ARM, Qualcomm and Nvidia. Intel's revamped Atom is set to be a high performance offering, but can top-end performance and a customized Linux distro be enough for Intel carve out a sizeable share of the mobile market?

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