Intel outs 64-bit KitKat Android, 'Braswell' chip for Chromebooks

Intel is touting a future system-on-a-chip for low-cost PCs and tablets and a 64-bit kernel for Android 4.4.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
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.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

Toshiba's Chromebook uses a low-cost Intel Celeron processor. Intel's upcoming Braswell chip could find its way into future Chromebooks. Toshiba

Intel revealed a new processor dubbed "Braswell," the QVOD media box, and a 64-bit Android kernel, among other announcements at the second day of a China conference.

With China now the No. 1 PC market in the world, Intel is making a number of announcements there instead of the US. This year is no exception.

Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president at Intel, disclosed that a chip code-named Braswell will be the follow-on to a version of the Bay Trail processor now found in low-cost devices like Chromebooks and sub-$500 Windows PCs.

Braswell will be a system-on-a-chip, aka SoC, built on the company's next-generation 14-nanometer manufacturing process. SoCs typically squeeze most of a device's core electronics onto one piece of silicon.

Not surprisingly, Braswell is expected to offer better performance and power efficiency than the Bay Trail chips (also branded as Pentium and Celeron) used in today's value-segment PCs.

Intel also discussed the following at its Developer Forum in Shenzhen, China on Wednesday.

--64-bit Android kernel: Intel released Android KitKat 4.4 with a 64-bit kernel optimized for Intel Architecture devices. "With this release, the company ported, validated and tested the Android Open Source code on IA, taking on the work that developers typically would need to do on their own. This release will provide the ecosystem with 64-bit kernel support for development of next-generation devices," Intel said. (The chipmaker noted that Android KitKat is a 32-bit OS.)

--Media box: Skaugen demonstrated new devices including a media box from QVOD Technology. The QVOD media box, available later this year, is based on Intel's current Bay Trail processors "and the two companies are exploring additional collaborations," Intel said in a statement.

Skaugen also said that it is working with Xiaomi on a future Widi-enabled set-top box.

--SoFIA chip: Hermann Eul, general manager of Intel's Mobile and Communications Group, disclosed more details about Intel's future SoFIA 3G product, a dual-chip SoC that will begin shipping in the fourth quarter of this year. SoFIA will target value smartphones and tablets.

Eul also discussed Intel's 2014 LTE platform, the Intel XMM 7260, which features five-mode support, including TD-LTE, and TD-SCDMA, which expands the platform's reach to China. Intel "is already actively engaged with China operators for certification and field trials are under way."