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Intel's 'Medfield' smartphone chip gets clarity

Chipmaker's Medfield may be the chip that drives its smartphone strategy in 2011 and beyond.

Intel's Medfield is the chip that will drive the chipmaker's smartphone strategy in 2011 and beyond, according to an Intel executive speaking recently at an Intel investor meeting.

Slides (accessible on Intel's Web site) shown by Anand Chandrasekher, general manager of Intel's Ultra Mobility Group, at last week's Intel investor meeting map out the road Intel will take to the mainstream smartphone market. (The slides were highlighted on technology sites such as Engadget and UMPC Portal).

Intel is taking a graduated approach to the smartphone market: the ultimate target is the mainstream smartphone
Intel is taking a graduated approach to the smartphone market: the ultimate target is the mainstream smartphone Intel

Intel's Medfield was first disclosed in December.

Chandrasekher showed a slide that put Medfield in the mainstream smartphone market by 2011 by reducing the size and power requirements of the chip. "We take the power down again using 32-nanometer (technology), we, of course, take the performance up using 32 nanometer. But we also consolidated everything onto one chip and shrink the form factor (smartphone design) down again," Chandrasekher said at the investor meeting, which was streamed over the Web.

"We got to get the power down so we can get all-day battery life and get the (chip) package (size) down," he said. "It's not going to be (that in) one generation we fix everything," he added.

Chandrasekher said Intel's biggest advantage in the mobile Internet device and smartphone market is the most obvious: Intel's x86 architecture that runs the world's PCs.

He also offered some updates for Moorestown, the chip that will precede Medfield. "Last year I said we're going to do better then 10X on platform idle power (reduction over the current Menlow technology) on Moorestown. Today, I'm telling you, for the first time outside the walls of Intel, we're going to do 50X better on idle power," he said. The idle power will be 20 milliwatts at the "platform level"--which refers to the idle power (or standby mode) of the actual device, such as a smartphone, not the just chip, according to Chandrasekher.

Chandrasekher also clarified that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will be making the "Langwell" half of the Moorestown silicon. "That second chip (Langwell) we manufacture on TSMC because there's a lot of that IP (intellectual property) sitting on TSMC today," he said.

For comparison, he showed a current Google Android-based phone that had idle power of 20 milliwatts.