back to article Intel: Our new mobile chip SoCs it to its predecessor

Intel has released more details about its upcoming Clovertrail+ system-on-chip (SoC) platform for smartphones, and its enhancements appear to provide a big ol' boost above and beyond the company's current smartphone chip-wannabe, Medfield. During a Monday morning session at the at the Hot Chips conference at Stanford University …

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Back in time...

Those specs for Clovertrail+ seem to only match those of a high-end Android phone design from late 2012 (e.g. HTC One or GS4). Is Intel ever planning to intro phone-industry-leading capabilities?

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its all very well having these chips available but at what costs to the OEMs,? Intel will probably be wanting to charge a premium to recoup back all the R&D and fab costs but if comparable ARM SOCs are cheaper then what is the incentive for the OEMs to pay more to use the Intel one.

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Anonymous Coward

They're try to compete fairly for a while, then when it doesn't work they'll do their usual dirty tricks campaign.

It's already started with the bastardised benchmarks. Next step is selling the chips for a loss or at cost to undercut ARM until ARM is finished and then ramp the price up.

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Anonymous Coward

Am I missing something here???

Or is this last year's SOC standing in for a Bay Trail presentation (this year's SOC) that was pulled at the last minute to avoid 'stealing thunder' from next week's Bay Trail launch announcement at IDF?

Or maybe I just drifted into a time warp ..

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Bronze badge

HDMI stick potential

Sounds like a good candidate for one of those HDMI sticks (à la Chromecast) that are popping up everywhere. Given that the current crop of Android dongles are primarily let down by the OS, I look forward to seeing x86 dongles with a choice of OS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: HDMI stick potential

If you have a choice of one device for £30 and another for £80 then which are you going to buy? bearing in mind £30 one has ARM and £80 has an Intel x86.

Windows Embedded didn't take off as it would have added a lot to the cost of a device. Same with Intel.

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Bronze badge

Re: HDMI stick potential

Doesn't need to run Windows. Having x86 opens up a lot of Linux variants; there are fewer options on ARM.

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Silver badge

Well someone doesn't understand much.

The vast majority of Linux machines run ARM already. That has been the case for at least 5 years or so.

What do you mean by "Linux variants"? Do you mean mainstream distros? If so there are Arch, Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu for ARM.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well someone doesn't understand much.

" If so there are Arch, Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu for ARM."

Exactly. And many others less visible in the x86-centric consumer market.

I've used MontaVista on ARM in a bit of professional comms kit. I've looked at using jlime and friends in a decade-old PDA.

The handset sector has had mutliple attempts at building a mainstream ARM-oriented Linux, and now Android (Linux with a proprietary UI) is wiping the floor with landfill WinPhone.

Any smart TV, SoHo router, NAS box, etc, etc, has a good chance of having ARM Linux Inside (and near zero probability of having x86 Linux inside).

Even Intel have their very own ARM Linux (also supporting MIPs, PPC, and x86), courtesy of their Wind River acquisition.

If a piece of kit came with a hardcopy of the GPL licence as well as the usual QuickStart guide, it's got Linux (or a relative) inside.

Penguins are in a lot of places. Most folk don't see them. Those with open eyes can see them. The ones with open eyes see ARM Inside.

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Anonymous Coward

I look forward to

seeing the list of CloverTrail+ "SoC" design and fabrication partners.

It won't need much space. The list, that is.

On the other hand, the Clovertrail+ system, as a whole, will still need more space than the highly integrated true-SoC non-x86 competition. Probably more power too (we'll have to wait and see).

The highly integrated SoC builders don't much care about whether theirs is an x86 or not. The phone builders don't. The end users don't.

The chip builders and phone builders now even have evidence (from sales figures, amongst other things) that the end user no longer cares whether it runs Windows or not (in fact, on a phone, running Windows is a big negative).

And that's before we even get onto commercial aspects, such as the price point these SoCs need to be at in order to win ongoing business vs the various incumbents, and the effect that price point may have on other x86 product margins (hint: downward price pressure on legacy x86?).

How long did it take Intel to realise that IA64 was a big black money pit? Maybe HP will realise too in a couple of years? How long will it take them in this market, with no sucker like HP to pass the costs on to?

Meantime, looking to the big picture, how are Intel going to find a post-Wintel moneyspinner?

I know, put Ballmer on the board. A skilled businessman like him with his experience, and now with time on his hands, he'd soon sort them out.

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Gold badge
Happy

So it's an Intel processor linked to Intel's choice of peripherals mfg on Intel's fab lines.

At whatever Intel wants to charge for it.

Perhaps Intel has guessed analyed the market carefully and this is indeed the perfect match for the phone capabilities customers demand for tomorrow. They do have lots of highly paid staff to do stuff like that.

I sense they still don't quite get the idea of customization. You know, the whole parts tailored to your specifications incorporating the peripherals you want on them?

Not to worry though. Intel have a very large cash pile left so they can afford another mistake.

Proceed with this nonsense at flank speed say I.

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Anonymous Coward

More alternatives == good

Right now the ARM market is dominated by Qualcomm, nVidia, and Samsung. None of those play particularly nice with the open source world (though Linus could have been more polite in voicing those concerns). Intel, on the other hand, has always been a good Linux partner. Getting more competition into that market would be a very good thing.

Feels weird talking about Intel *adding* competition to a market, I know...

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Maybe a Tablet

A 7.5" x 11.5" cased tablet with about 13" diagonal screen, minimum 1450 x 960 pixels (133dpi) ideally about 1960 x 1300 (180dpi) or about 2140 x 1400 (200dpi). BT keyboard should be included ( :) ). Also you should be able to chose iOS, OSX, WinXP, RiscOS, Linux, Android or Win8 (or whatever, pre-loaded and swap later).

Can't see the point of it in a phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe a Tablet

Indeed probably to expensive and (despite the rolling promises of the marketeers) thirsty for phones. I initially thought tablet/hybrid things too but that 2GB RAM ceiling sounds a bit tight for those and they tend to run *far* finer screens than 1920x1200. Perfect for "netbook" type device design from ten years ago perhaps?

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Def
Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Maybe a Tablet

Yeah, really. That supported resolution is abysmal.

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Anonymous Coward

Lockout = Avoid like the plague

All would be fine if they did not lock out all operating systems.

Crippled/locked by default means Atom is a short term buy long term nightmare. Their main aim surely is to cripple mobile just like they did to netbooks.

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Happy

It's an old SoC used in the Levono K900

launched back in February and not mentioned much besides in the recent AnTuTu benchmark cheating debacle... There was talk that ZTE would launch phones based on it but nothing has happened since. I haven't seen recent x86 phone market share figures, but I very much doubt they are gaining share.

"Intel also claims that the power needs of its next-gen SoC should be comparable to its ARM-based competition"

Maybe, I haven't seen detailed power consumption tests. However it's performance is certainly lacklustre compared to the Galaxy S4: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench2/compare/1979365/1970335

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Joke

Re: It's an old SoC used in the Levono K900

Intel also claims that the power needs of its next-gen SoC should be comparable to its ARM-based competition.

That one never gets old, does it.

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Facepalm

Underestimating Intel

A lot of people are still underestimating Intel. This announcement is just evidence of a big team of engineers developing the platform, they have spent the last couple of Atom generations integrating existing Intel tech, hyper threading, power saving tech from Sandy/Ivy bridge, memory controller....

They have been doing this at a rate of major new generation every 12 months, far quicker than the competition, and whether you believe the benchmarks showing Intel more efficient that ARM or not is irrelevant, the fact it is up for debate any any one can build a phone based on the design and it be some where usable means Atom is somewhere close, 2 years ago it was not in the same ballpark.

Now Intel are close they are going to start pulling the trump cards, in the next 14 months we are going to see two more major releases including big upgrades to performance and efficiency such as out of order processing, 64bit, higher core counts, along with 2! full node process shrinks. In most processor family's that's 3-5 years worth of Moore's law Intel can bring to bear in 14 months.

This is a one off windfall Intel are going to get by making Atom a first class product line. If I were ARM I would be very worried about the performance of the next couple of Atom designs and how you compete with a product exceeding Moors Law, they don't want to be squeezed into the value end of the market, it didn't do much for AMD.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Underestimating Intel

"out of order processing, 64bit, higher core counts, along with 2! full node process shrinks. In most processor family's that's 3-5 years worth of Moore's law Intel can bring to bear in 14 months."

Righto.

Now remind me why *any* normal computer user needs that stuff, especially in a battery powered device such as a phone, tablet, etc.

Then remind me what price it has to sell for in comparison with the prices for ARM partner designs, and what effect that will have on desktop x86 prices (you clearly know what happens if margins are squeezed painfully).

Intel are clever guys. That's why their management backed IA64 rather than AMD64. That's why they sold their StrongARM rights to Marvell (the StrongARM people and technology they inherited from DEC). That's why Intel's wireless people did so well with ubiquitous WiMax. And with embedded graphics. And volume market built-in NICs. And so on. Intel ran out of ideas when they "ran out of people to copy from" (no prize: which Intel VP said that, what were the exact words, and where/when did he say it?).

Intel. The x86 company. Look around you and confirm it with your own eyes.

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