At Computex, Intel's 'Moorefield' and 'Broadwell' chips span Android and Windows

Intel will be busy at Computex. Expect a raft of announcements centered on its small-device strategy, which the chip giant is trying to get into high gear.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 3: the aging Galaxy Tab 3 is one of a handful of devices from top-tier makers using Intel in an Android tablet. Samsung

Processors for Windows will get plenty of attention at the Computex tech show, but Android-specific chips will likely resonate with Asian customers.

At the conference starting June 4 in Taipei, Intel aims to get inside more Android phones, phablets, and tablets because that's where the mobile action is.

Moorefield: Enter the Android-specific quad-core 'Moorefield' processor (Intel documentation designates it specifically for Android), which the chipmaker is expected to highlight at the conference.

Moorefield allows Intel to get on the quad-core bandwagon in small Android devices (besting the dual-core "Merrifield" -- also targeted at the Android crowd).

If anything else, that's important for ad copy as other Android chip suppliers like Qualcomm and Samsung have already mainstreamed quad-core in Android phones and tablets.

Marketed as the Atom Z3560/Z3580, Moorefield is designed for devices 8 inches and smaller (including smartphones), an Intel spokeswoman told CNET.

Maybe more importantly, it is LTE "optimized." That means it includes support for Intel's XMM 7260 LTE silicon, which can enable the latest and greatest (e.g., CAT 6) LTE speeds.

Intel has not fared well to date when matching its silicon with LTE in tablets. Intel-based Windows 8.1 tablets with LTE, for example, are conspicuous by their absence.

--Bay Trail and Cherry Trail: Intel is expecting "more than a dozen" customers and device makers to announce tablets based on Bay Trail during the Computex time frame, the spokeswoman said.

But Bay Trail is old news. It already powers most the Windows 8.1 tablets on the market, including Dell's Venue Pro, Lenovo's ThinkPad, Toshiba's Encore, Hewlett-Packard's Omni 10, and Asus' Vivotab tablets.

Cherry Trail, based on Intel's most advanced 14-nanometer manufacturing process, will follow Bay Trail. It features new silicon that should offer a decent jump in graphics chip performance, among other benefits.

Cherry Trail is expected later this year, the spokeswoman said.

Broadwell: This processor will likely get a lot of attention as it's the successor to Intel's widely-used Haswell, the processor of choice globally for laptops and many 2-in-1 tablet-laptop hybrids (not to mention desktops and servers).

Intel is expected to offer an update on Broadwell. That will include showing off a new 2-in-1 hybrid "reference design," another Intel spokeswoman said.

Broadwell is a "shrink" -- in which the transistor geometries are reduced -- of Haswell, resulting in a design that can enable more compact devices.

A lot of technical information is out there already on Broadwell. Like Haswell, it will span the gamut of processor types, from the most power-efficient Intel Y series all the way to multi-core Broadwell chips for gaming PCs.

The big question is when exactly Broadwell will appear. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said last month that it will arrive in time for the year-end holiday season.

And that means a massive update of laptops, all-in-ones, and desktops will ensue.

Of course, Intel will have some surprises to spring on the Computex crowd. Hint: keep your eye on the wearables space.

 

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