Intel intros DeepSafe CPU security, will optimize Android for x86

By on September 14, 2011, 9:00 AM

Putting its $7.68 billion acquisition to use, Intel has announced a new processor technology it's deemed "one of the biggest innovations" in the security industry's history. Called McAfee DeepSafe, the framework sits below your operating system and will allow McAfee to develop hardware-assisted security features.

Intel didn't provide many details, but the goal is to detect and thwart malware that can evade your OS-level antivirus. In one example, DeepSafe stopped a zero-day rootkit called Agony from infecting a system in real time. More details should arise soon as DeepSafe is expected to ship in products later this year.

"When you operate below the operating system level you get a unique advantage," said McAfee exec Vimal Solanki. "You can monitor how the operating system is behaving and if there are any threats attempting to infect the OS itself." "I've been in the security industry 20 years and I've never seen anything as exciting."

Along with that news, the company has announced that it's partnering with Google to optimize future releases of Android for Atom processors. Intel has been struggling to gain foothold in the mobile CPU market and having Android optimized for Atom chips would give the company another ounce of leverage with device manufacturers.

A vast majority of today's smartphones and tablets are powered by ARM-based SoCs peddled by Nvidia, TI and many more, and that's at least partially because they're less power hungry than Intel's offerings. Intel hopes to shake up the market with its 32nm Medfield chips, which have been delayed numerous times in the last year or two.

Medfield will supposedly be more competitive on power consumption, but it's unclear if that will remain true when ARM's next-gen chips arrive in the form of Kal-El, Krait and others. In a clip posted by Anandtech (above), Intel showed the architecture's new ISP (Image Signal Processor), which captures up to 20 frames at 1600x1200.

"Combining Android with Intel's low power smartphone roadmap opens up more opportunity for innovation and choice," said Google's Android chief, Andy Rubin. The first Medfield-based smartphones were due sometime this year, but they've been pushed forward to early next year, according to the latest information we've seen.

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