Intel rolls out Atom chips targeting phones

Amid a busy day in the chip world, Intel announces a new line of Atom processors for what it is calling "media phones."

Updated at 9:35 p.m. PST with updated list of Atom Z5xx series processors.

A lot happened in the chip world Monday. Amid all the commotion, Intel announced a new line of Atom processors.

In addition to Intel's watershed deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to essentially co-manufacture Atom processors, Advanced Micro Devices officially split in two , and Spansion filed for bankruptcy protection .

But in case you missed it, Intel also rolled out new Atom Z5xx series processors. Four "unique" new versions in all, according to Intel. What's different about this Atom announcement is that Intel is saying clearly for the first time that a shipping Atom product is targeting phones--or what it is calling "media phones." To date, Intel has used nomenclature like "MID" (mobile Internet device) or "Internet devices" for other Atom models.

Intel Z5xx series of Atom processors with new models listed
Intel Z5xx series of Atom processors with new models listed Intel

That said, don't expect to see these Atom processors in many smartphones. That won't happen until Intel brings out the next version of Atom called Moorestown, due late this year or next year. That chip will be lower power than current Atom processors, in order to meet smartphone battery-life requirements, and more highly integrated. Moorestown is the chip that LG Electronics plans to use in a future smartphone .

Intel is also targeting the chips at embedded industrial applications--potentially the largest market--and in-car infotainment devices.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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