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Intel enters SoC market

Posted: 28 Jul 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SoC  integrated circuits  Atom processor  single chip 

Intel announces its entry into the market for SoC integrated circuits. Most of them will be based on the Atom processor, Intel's low-power processor aimed at portable applications, and the move markets a renewed attempt to enter mobile and communications markets.

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 licencors 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.

The company'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. According to the company, the device will feature 45 per cent smaller footprint and 34 per cent 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 elements—with the Atom in most cases replacing the Pentium M—is 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 10 crore (100 million) transistors on a single chip.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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