In the upcoming year, Intel will intensify its assault on the tablet and smartphone market by releasing two Atom system-on-a-chip devices built using the 32nm fabrication technology, not just one as previously thought.
The first one of these chips is known by the code name of Medfield and is the company's first Atom SoC solution
targeting the mobile market.
Unlike the previous Atom
designs, Medfield will include not only the processor cores and the GPU on the same die, but also the I/O functionality that was previously enclosed in the northbridge such as SATA and USB interface or the PCI Express links.
By going this route, Intel will be able to decrease both the costs and the power consumption of its chips, and will finally have a solution, from an integration point of view, able to compete with the ARM-based processors developed by Nvidia or Texas Instruments.
This design will be further refined in 2013 with the launch of the Silvermont architecture, but between Medfield and this SoC, Intel
also plans to introduce a second chip targeted at the low-power market.
Information about this processor is scarce at this moment, but AnandTech
claims that it will also be built using the 32nm fabrication process and that, most probably, it will come as a dual-core part (maybe with Hyper-Threading enabled) in order to compete with the quad-core ARM chips expected to arrive from Nvidia and Qualcomm.
Together with the CPU, the graphics core could also get an upgrade, which will most probably be based on a PowerVR design just as its the case with the current solutions enclosed in the Oak Trail tablet processors.
Other details are not available, but it seems like Intel is determined to go after ARM in the tablet and smartphone space. The only thing that remains to be seen is if the Santa Clara chip maker will actually manage to achieve its target.