Bangalore, May 8, 2014: Intel is placing its bets on customers demanding a new form factor -- larger than the largest smartphone, smaller than the smallest tablet -- with the device providing a combo of both functions. 'Two in one' is the name of the portability game and the computing devices leader is happy to encourage the trend with few choice interventions of its own:
- a gradual lurch towards 64-bit rather 32-bit processors
- the ability to handle and switch between two operating systems
- advanced graphics and video muscle for consumer apps that were till recently the preserve of imaging professionals
- and a measured roadmap to provide almost day-long usage from a fully charged battery.
At its annual Mobility Roadshow in India's own Silicon capital today, Narendra Bhandari, Director-Software and Services group, Intel Asia Pacific and Japan, spelt out the company's chip architecture roadmap that was going to make all this happen.
The upcoming 2.13GHz Intel Atom processor Z3480 (“Merrifield”) -- a 64-bit ready system-on-a-chip -- offers the ideal combination of fast, smart performance and long battery life for Android smartphones and tablets, Bhandari said.
Also coming in the second half of this year is the next-generation 64-bit Intel Atom processor, code-named “Moorefield” with two additional Intel architecture (IA) cores for up to 2.3GHz of compute performance, an enhanced Graphical Processor Unit, optimized for 4G LTE environments.
While Intel seemed to recognize and cater for the overwhelming presence of Android-based device in the handheld and portable arena, it seems also to be subtly pushing the claims of Windows8 as the preferred or at least the "stepney" OS on 2-in-1 phone-tablets. The Roadshow showcased "Intel Inside" phablets and tablets from many leading makers -- Dell, Lenovo, Acer, HP, Panasonic, ASUS -- many of which offered Windows as the primary OS.
"Over 90 new designs are coming to market this year", Bhandari added, "Asia-Pacific already accounts for 15 percent of the global demand for mobile devices and Indian demand represents 16 percent of Asia Pac minus China".
Interestingly the company is working with Foxconn -- largely known as a leader in contract manufacturing -- to create ready-to-use reference designs for new-gen phablets and tablets based on Intel chip sets... a canny move to embrace the huge China technology ecosystem where hundreds of makers roll out portable compute-and- communicate devices to very similar specs and features -- Anand Parthasarathy