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Intel's 'Quark' lineup targets wearables

Intel is making the tiniest of chips that can power wearable devices.

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
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announces Quark chip line for wearables.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announces Quark chip line for wearables. Intel

Intel announced a line of tiny chips for new markets, including wearable devices, at the company's annual conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Called Quark, it is Intel's bid to stay relevant in the era of wearable computing.

The new lower-power products will address wearable gadgets, as well as industrial "Internet-of-Things" devices, new Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said during his keynote speech.

It's approximately one-fifth the size of the company's already-small Atom chip and draws one-tenth the power.

Intel will sample circuit board designs based on the first product in this family during the fourth quarter of this year. Initially, it will be aimed at the industrial, energy, and transportation markets.

Krzanich showed a bracelet as an example of a concept product and said the company is pursuing opportunities with partners in this area.

"Smartphones and tablets are not the end-state," he said. "The next wave of computing is still being defined. Wearable computers and sophisticated sensors and robotics are only some of the initial applications."

Intel appears to be going after rival ARM with Quark, wrote Anand Shimpi of chip site Anandtech.

"ARM's Cortex M and Cortex R processor IP already compete in the spaces that Intel is naming for Quark," he said.

Qualcomm also is moving ahead with the Internet-of-things concept, such as the recently announced Toq smartwatch.