As Internet access continues to be added to all kinds of computers and devices, Intel executives outlined a plan to use its chip design expertise, factory capacity, advanced manufacturing techniques and the economics of Moore's Law to usher in a new category of highly integrated, purpose-built and Web-savvy System-on-Chip (SoC) designs and products.
The company also unveiled its first eight such products under its Intel EP80579 Integrated Processor family for security, storage, communications, and industrial robotics.
For the first time, Intel is architecting several of these smarter SoC chip designs based on the same blueprint as the company's existing processors that run the bulk of the Internet, called Intel architecture (IA).
The products will offer new levels of performance and energy efficiency versus traditional SoCs, combine multiple functions and will be customised to target the company's traditional computing businesses and several growth areas across Consumer Electronics (CE), Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and embedded markets.
Intel has more than 15 SoC projects planned internally, including the company's first Consumer Electronics (CE) chip codenamed "Canmore" scheduled for introduction later this year and the second-generation "Sodaville" next year. In addition, Intel's second-generation embedded product line is scheduled to arrive in 2009, with Intel's next-generation platform for Mobile Internet Devices code-named "Moorestown" and featuring "Lincroft," scheduled for release by 2010.
Many of these new products will be based on the Intel AtomT processor core. All of these chips will provide increased performance and energy efficiency, along with the ability for customization, leading to faster development schedules and time-to-market delivery for customers while bringing more innovation, choice and lower costs to consumers.
"We're now able to deliver more highly integrated products ranging from industrial robotics and in-car infotainment systems to set-top boxes, MIDs and other devices. By designing more complex systems onto smaller chips, Intel will scale the performance, functionality and software compatibility of IA while controlling the overall power, cost and size requirements to better meet respective market needs," says Gadi Singer, vice-president of Intel's Mobility Group and general manager, SoC Enabling Group. "Best of all, customers and consumers will equally benefit."
Four of the eight new smart SoC Intel EP80579 Integrated Processor products include Intel QuickAssist Technology that simplifies the use and deployment of security and packet accelerators in Intel-based computers. Each SoC is based on the Intel® Pentium® M processor, integrated memory controller hub, and a variety of integrated communications and embedded I/O controllers.
These products come in a range of speeds, power dissipation and commercial/industrial temperature options. In some cases, they will lead to platforms that have a 45% smaller board footprint and 34% lower power dissipation.
Each product also comes with Intel's extended seven-year-long lifecycle manufacturing support, which makes them ideal for applications such as traditional embedded and industrial computer systems, small- to medium-sized business (SMB) and home network-attached storage, enterprise security applications, IP telephony, and wireless and WiMAX infrastructure.
"There is a tremendous opportunity for these smart SoC solutions in the market today as the number of Internet-connected devices reaches into the billions, performance expectations rise and device sizes shrink," says Doug Davis, vice president of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group and GM: Embedded and Communications Group. "These products enable our customers to rethink their own innovation and system design around the many benefits of Intel architecture."