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Intel unveils Internet-on-a-chip processor

Posted: 14 Feb 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:intel? Manitoba? pxa800f? internet on a chip? mobile internet processor?

Intel Corp. has announced its long-awaited "Internet-on-a-chip" device featuring the integration trifecta of an Xscale processor, DSP, and Flash memory. Code-named Manitoba, the processor will be aimed at GSM/GPRS mobile gear and will compete against products from dominant incumbents Texas Instruments and Motorola.

Manitoba was developed with a host of partners, including Analog Devices, RF Micro Devices, TTPCom, and Electrobit. Samples of its initial implementation, the PXA800F, are available now.

The PXA800F integrates a 312MHz Xscale applications processor with 4MB of on-chip Flash and 512KB of SRAM; and a 104MHz baseband DSP with 512KB of Flash and 64KB of SRAM. A power-management hardware audio codec obtained from Dialog Semiconductor has also been integrated. The Layer 1 protocol was internally developed by Intel for the DSP, while Intel opted to use TTPCom's mature GSM/GPRS Layer 2/3 protocol stack to run on the Xscale.

The chip is built in a 0.13?m process and integrates a plethora of I/O options, according to Dennis Sheehan, director of marketing for Intel's PCA components group. It will cost $35 each in quantities of 10,000. The price is intended suit the target market of $100 to $200 smart phones and low-end PDAs.

"For the market projections [for smart phones and PDAs] to become reality, the trick will be to make the functionality interesting to the user and get it into the mainstream price points," Sheehan said. "If it stays at the high-end . . . it won't drive this kind of volume. So we have to drive it into the mainstream segment and get users excited about it."

The chip is packaged in a 13mm2 BGA that will enable a talk time of 3h when combined in a system with Analog Devices' OthelloOne direct-conversion front-end chip, Sheehan said. RF Micro provided the power amplifier and Electrobit will produce a reference design featuring the PXA800F in Q2 of this year, Sheehan said.

The PXA800F "is a really important step for Intel," said Jeff Bier with Berkeley Design Technology Inc., a DSP technology analysis firm. "It is a very complex handset solution and not something you just whip up overnight. They're demonstrating their commitment and [showing] they're serious." Bier said Intel's fabrication expertise and resources will give established players like TI and Motorola, which compete in the same market, a reason to look over their shoulder. "[Intel] seems to have pulled it all together here," he said.

- Patrick Mannion

EE Times

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