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Intel is working on its 'smallest SoC ever' for wearable devices

A fifth of the size of Atom chips and ten times more efficient
Tue Sep 10 2013, 20:26

SAN FRANCISCO: CHIPMAKER Intel has revealed the company working on its "smallest system on chip (SoC) ever" for wearable technology, which apparently is a fifth of the size of the firm's present Atom processors and uses a tenth of the power.

Unveiled by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at the company's Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco on Tuesday, the SoC named Quark is in development and should ship in products sometime next year, in smartwatches, bracelets and who knows what else.

Intel opening keynote at IDF

"[Quark] is fully synthesizeable with an open architecture and open ecosystem. It is designed for 'the internet of things'. This is just an example of the silicon innovation that's going on inside of Intel," Krzanich said in the opening keynote, adding that the firm has already started work on reference designs.

"These are reference designs, ready to go to our developer community and out into industry. Because this device is fully synthesizable, if companies have their own intellectual property they want to put into the silicon, we can support that. This is truly designed for this open environment," he added.

The Intel CEO explained that the chip will be all about wearables, saying that the firm has been working on wearable technology and has reference designs with different form factors.

"The idea isn't necessarily for Intel to bring these to market, but to come up with devices that partners could use to develop their own products in this open ecosystem - writing their own software, develop[ing] their own applications and drive this product into the market themselves."

Intel said it built these reference designs to find out what the customer really needs, so it can bring products to market with apps all ready to go. "You can only do that if you have the reference designs," Krzanich said.

The open source chip has the the opportunity to go outside of Intel but for now, it plans to keep it inside the company.

Krzanich's appearance at IDF today was his first major public appearance as CEO, along with the new president, Renee James. Intel announced his promotion from COO earlier this year, and he succeeded Paul Otellini as CEO on 16 May. µ


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