Monday, February 24, 2014

Intel launches 64-bit Merrifield, Moorefield SoCs; claims they are faster than the Apple A7

Late as it is to the game, Intel continues to push its system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs for smartphones and tablets, and on Monday, at Mobile World Congress 2014, the company unveiled its next-generation Atom chips (via Laptop Mag).

These new chips run on a 22nm process, and they are -- Intel emphasized all processors going forward will have this feature -- 64-bit processors, matching Apple's current A7. Intel claimed, as well, that both the dual-core Z34XX SoCs, as well as the more powerful quad-core Z35XX chips, surpass both Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 and Apple's A7 in terms of performance.

Doubly important for a mobile processor, Intel further claimed that its new SoCs beat both Qualcomm and Apple offerings in terms of battery life, too.

The Z34XX line was previously codename Merrifield, while the Z35XX line had been dubbed Moorefield.  Moorefield, notably, will not launch until 2H2014.

In a statement, Intel Corporation President Renee James said:
64 bit computing is moving from the desktop to the mobile device. Intel knows 64-bit computing, and we’re the only company shipping 64-bit processors for mobile devices today capable of supporting both Android and Microsoft Windows.
In addition to its processor announcements, Intel showed off its previously announced (Aug. 2013) standalone LTE modem, the XMM 7160, which supports 15 different bands and provides speeds up to 150 Mbps (LTE Cat 4).

It also announced a second-generation standalone LTE modem, the XMM 7260, which supports 22 bands up to 300 Mbps (LTE Cat 6 or LTE-A). LTE-A allows for greater speed by aggregating different carrier bands.

Intel also announced it had signed multi-year deals with Asus, Foxconn and Lenovo (which, you might recall is in the process of acquiring Motorola Mobility from Google). Plans include:
  • Asus will bring a full portfolio of both Intel-based tablets and smartphones to market this year. In fact, at MWC 2014, Asus announced the Fonepad 7 LTE Android tablet, which sports a prior-generation Intel Atom Z2560 processor as well as Intel LTE connectivity.
  • Foxconn, meanwhile, will help Intel to build affordable Intel-based Android tablets. Foxconn will produce mobility devices, beginning with tablets, later this year, with Intel providing Atom processors and modems.
  • Lenovo will introduce new Intel-based mobile devices in 2014, and both companies will dedicate engineering resources to building a “variety of smartphone and tablet form factors spanning value to performance market segments.” Lenovo will also use Intel’s modems in its Ultrabooks, too.

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