Will Intel’s New Moorestown Atom Make a Smartphone Splash?

Intel has announced the release of its new Atom Z600 family of processors and the associated platform that goes with them, a platform called Moorestown. The company’s hope is that this new set of processors will give Intel the ability to directly compete in the smartphone market. However, it’s not clear whether or not that’s actually going to happen.

Positive Changes with Moorestown

The new processors are definitely better than previous Atom-based processors from this brand. Improvements include:

  • A more integrated platform. Intel uses system-on-a-chip technology and this new family of processors will require fewer chips for the system.
  • Improved performance. Intel reports that the new chip offers a higher quality of performance for JavaScript, graphics, video recording and video decoding. They say the visual experience of a smartphone using this technology should be comparable to that on a PC.
  • Reduced power. Intel says that there is a reduction in idle power of 50 times, a reduction in audio power of 20 times and a reduction in browsing and audio of 2-3 times as compared to previous Intel Atom processors. This means longer battery life for smartphones using these processors.

Other Things Working for Intel

Intel has some other things going on in its favour that will help Moorestown compete in the smartphone technology market:

  • Faster than the competition. The new processor can work at up to 1.5 GHz for high-end smartphones which will be faster than ARM-based smartphones today. However, this would only work on fairly large handsets.
  • It uses x86 architecture. This means that it is highly compatible with nearly all software. This may or may not prove to be an asset since software makers are used to writing for ARM-based phones, too, even though they use a different architecture.
  • Intel is a strong brand with lots of connections. The relationship Intel has with hardware manufacturers along with the credibility of its performance will help boost interest in this new platform.

Competitors May Still be Stronger

This all sounds great but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the new processors will truly compete in the market. That’s because the market has been surging ahead while Intel has been working on this new technology. Some of the things that Intel still has to compete with include:

  • Other more integrated platforms. Intel has gotten more integrated than before, but they’re still not as integrated as some other processor platforms. This means that it won’t work as well as competitors for smaller handsets. In particular, the Qualcomm Snapdragon is a major competitor.
  • Dual-core processing for mobiles is on the horizon. This is the way of the smartphone future for smaller phones with bigger batteries and this new technology by Intel simply can’t compete.

What to Expect

The new Moorestown Atom is certainly going to be seen in smartphones in the near future. However, it is likely to be seen primarily in high-end smartphones that are rather large and may be too bulky for the average consumer. It will also likely show up in tablets. In contrast, smaller mid-range handsets will continue to rely on other processors.

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