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Intel takes a slice of SoC market

Posted: 28 Jul 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intel SoC offering? SoC market? mobile market? communications?

Intel has unveiled plans for its SoC product line, most of which will be based on the Atom, its low-power processor designed for portable applications. The chip giant's entry in the SoC market fuels speculations of its renewed interest in the mobile and communications segments.

The company currently has 15 SoC projects in its pipeline, all tailored for new growth markets, according to Gadi Singer, general manager of Intel's SoC enabling group. Of these 15 projects, eight will be rolled out as products soon, he said.

With the production of SoCs, the company hopes to address markets hitherto dominated by the likes of ARM Holdings plc and MIPS Technologies Inc. while at the same time leveraging the dynamics of the x86 software market. ARM and MIPS are processor technology licensors who have enabled IDMs such as Texas Instruments, Samsung and STMicroelectronics to prosper in markets away from the personal and notebook computer.

Intel sees large opportunities in mobile internet applications, such as location-based services, as well as connected in-car infotainment. In addition, the company said it plans to target industrial applications.

Intel's first SoC product is about to enter production. The EP80579 will combine a Pentium M-based processor design with memory controller, I/O controller and a set of integrated application-specific accelerators on a single chip. The device will feature 45 percent smaller footprint and 34 percent lower power compared to separate implementations. In order to satisfy industrial requirements, the company has announced a seven-year life cycle support.

The integration of these four elementswith the Atom in most cases replacing the Pentium Mis a common denominator for Intel's planned 'Smart SoC' family.

Intel's SoC roadmap are also includes designs with multiple processor cores on chip and integrating more than 100 million transistors on a single chip.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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