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MWC: An early sign of Intel's mobile chip tips up

Bungs a wireless core into a SoC
Wed Feb 16 2011, 13:59

CHIPMAKER Intel showed off at Mobile World Congress a vital part of any possible mobile chip it might build.

intel-wireless-chipIt might not look like much, but Intel's research labs unveiled the firm's first wireless radio core that is part of an system-on-chip (SoC). Most of the board space is taken up by antenna and diagnostic connections, with the chip being only about 3mm square.

Intel's representatives said that the unnamed chip can be produced using the same process that is uses for its Sandy Bridge processors. This means that Intel can save time and money by avoiding re-tooling its fabrication plants to make these chips.

Intel's CEO Paul Otellini revealed during his MWC keynote that smartphones based on Intel's chips will be available this year. Judging by what is already on Intel's stands it looks like the firm already has the technology in place for handset makers to implement.

While demonstrating the wireless chip to The INQUIRER, Intel representatives said that integrating it into an SoC is a complex challenge, though one that the firm has managed to meet.

The question is, if Intel can already produce these wireless enabled SoCs using the Sandy Bridge manufacturing process, what's happening to Moorestown? For over a year we've been promised smartphones and tablets based on Moorestown only to be left disappointed.

However the news that Intel has finally been able to integrate a wireless radio core into its SoC does mean that the firm is getting closer to releasing a smartphone chip.

The problem for Intel is that every manufacturer and their dog have opted for ARM's designs and, judging by the devices and chatter on the MWC show floor, that doesn't look like it will change in the near future. µ


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