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Intel targets the mobile crowd

The chipmaker will announce smaller flash memory products and new chip packages for makers of wireless devices.

Intel is adding to its portfolio of products for makers of cell phones and handheld devices.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker will announce at the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei on Tuesday new flash memory parts and packaging that it says provide more capabilities and consume less power than currently available products.

Intel currently offers memory and processors for cell phones and handhelds; the new products combine the two. Intel also is expected to announce by the end of the year a fully integrated product, codenamed Manitoba, that includes memory, an XScale PXA processor and a digital signal processor.

"These products are meant to enhance the capabilities of devices," said Hans Geyer, an Intel vice president. "Manufacturers are looking for more memory that consumes lower and lower levels of power, as well as putting more functionality into a device without taking up more space."

Intel is competing with the likes of Advanced Micro Devices in the flash memory market and Texas Instruments in the integrated chip market for handheld devices. AMD is the No. 2 maker of flash memory, and TI has its OMAP (Open Multimedia Applications Protocol) technology, which it is using to lure device makers.

Integrated chips for devices "is not an area that Intel has been traditionally strong in," said Alex Slawsby, an analyst with research firm IDC. Intel has been able to provide the performance for computing devices, but balancing power management and performance is especially significant for handhelds and phones. "They'll have to show that they can play outside their strengths."

Intel has developed 1.8-volt StrataFlash Wireless Memory, which is based on the 0.13 micron process technology and draws nearly 40 percent less power than currently available memory. StrataFlash essentially doubles the amount of data a memory cell can hold. The memory can be stacked so manufacturers can provide more memory without taking up more room on a device's circuit board.

The memory is available in 8MB, 16MB and 32MB capacities and is being designed into devices that will reach the market by the second quarter of next year, Geyer said.

The new memory product is meant to address a drive by manufacturers to increase the amount of memory in cell phones and handhelds. The 8MB capacity is currently sampling and costs $17.75 in 10,000-unit quantities. The 16MB and 32MB capacities will sample early next year; pricing has not been determined.

Intel also will announce its PXA261 and PXA262 processors, which essentially are packages that include an XScale PXA250 processor stacked on Intel StrataFlash memory. Stacking the components reduces the number of parts in a device and gives manufacturers the option to reduce the size of a product or add other features without making it bigger.

The Intel PXA261 includes a 200MHz XScale PXA250 processor with 16MB of memory and will sell for $36.10 in 10,000-unit quantities. The Intel PXA262 includes 300MHz and 200MHz processors with 32MB of memory and will sell for $54.60 and $62.60 in 10,000-unit quantities.