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Intel Computex keynote shows LTE modem, Merrifield smartphone design

updated 07:06 am EDT, Tue June 4, 2013

Intel pushing for Haswell chips in two-in-one tablet systems

Intel has revealed more of its future plans for mobile computing, as part of its keynote address at Computex. A new smartphone reference platform using the chip producer's new Merrifield processors has been unveiled, along with the company's first ever LTE modem, and new fourth-generation Intel Core processors for two-in-one convertible notebooks.

The new line of fourth-generation chips are claimed to offer a 50-percent increase in battery life compared to previous releases, allowing for ultrabooks to have over 9 hours of battery life "in active workloads." Based on the 22nm Haswell architecture, the new System on Chips will have twice the level of graphical performance of Intel's previous generation of chips, with Intel's "Iris" graphics said to be appearing in a few notebooks in the future.

The push towards 2-in-1 devices, such as tablets that can be docked into a keyboard and turned into a notebook, sees Intel teasing new items that could be available in the future. On-stage, the company showed a Haswell-powered tablet that did not require any fans to help in cooling, but did not go into further detail. New tablets and notebooks using the quad-core Bay Trail chips are said to be heading out onto the market by the holidays, starting from $399.

The XMM 7160, a multi-band LTE modem, will be offered to manufacturers to provide Bay Trail tablets and notebooks high-speed cellular access. Supporting global roaming, the 22nm Atom SoC with LTE is aimed with smartphones and tablets in mind, which could well be used in devices shipping before the end of the year.

Tom Killroy, executive vice president of Sales at Intel, teased a new smartphone reference design using Merrifield chips to the audience as part of the presentation. Unlikely to appear in devices until early next year, Merrifield uses an "entirely new Atom architecture," and offers a number of performance gains. The reference device itself is estimated by Engadget to have a four-inch screen, but other details were less forthcoming. It is claimed to have an "integrated sensor hub" which will offer "data, device, and privacy protection," but again Intel did not go into detail.

A Kinect-style camera was also demonstrated at the event. The Creative Senz3D Peripheral Camera is able to use 3D depth perception and facial recognition, and is able to read and interpret gestures performed by the user. It will go on sale as a separate peripheral in the next quarter, and is planned to be integrated into devices in late 2014.

by MacNN Staff



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