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Intel ropes in ARM chipmaker Rockchip for low-end Android tablet push

Firms will work together on Intel-branded SoC for budget tablets
Wed May 28 2014, 16:19
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CHIPMAKER Intel has joined forces with Chinese chip design firm Rockchip to develop next generation processors for the tablet market based on Intel Atom core technology and integrating 3G broadband communications.

Under the terms of the agreement, Intel and Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics (Rockchip) will work together on an Intel branded mobile system on chip (SoC) processor with the intention of enabling a range of entry-level Android tablets.

The chip is expected to ship in the first half of 2015, according to Intel, and will be based on a quad-core Atom processor design integrated with Intel's 3G modem technology, which the firm gained through its acquisition of Infineon Technologies in 2010.

Rockchip, which is expected to contribute to the integrated graphics technology, will also help Intel bring the product to market faster than might otherwise be the case. The firm is a leading fabless semiconductor design company and already develops mobile SoCs, although its present designs are largely focused around the ARM architecture.

The agreement builds on announcements Intel made at an investor relations day last year, where chief executive Brian Krzanich disclosed the Intel Sofia family, of which the latest chip will form part, and conceded that the chipmaker needed to become more agile in order to gain traction in entry-level markets.

"The strategic agreement with Rockchip is an example of Intel's commitment to take pragmatic and different approaches to grow our presence in the global mobile market by more quickly delivering a broader portfolio of Intel architecture and communications technology solutions," Krzanich said.

With this announcement, the Intel Sofia family comprises three products, which are not shipping yet.

A dual-core 3G version is slated for the fourth quarter this year, the quad-core 3G version is due in the first half of 2015, and a version with 4G/LTE communication is also due in the first half of next year. µ


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