Intel’s “M” to get into Smartphone market

Intel’s Atom based application processor for smartphone application

Intel has enjoyed significant market share in Netbook market using Atom chip. Atom used to be stand-alone CPU core at the beginning, but now it is incorporated with GPU and memory controller together targeting for smartphone.

At 2010 CES, LG showed Atom based smartphone (model GW990). The application processor used in this phone is a platform called “Moorestown”.  Moorestown is an SOC including CPU, GPU, memory and wireless connection capability (WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G etc). Moorestown has two big components “Lincroft” and “Langwell”.

subsystem comments Fab/Tech
(CPU core)
SOC of following blocks
Atom CPU processor (similar to SIlverthone)
Graphic, video engine
Memory and display controller
Intel 45nm SOC
I/O connectivity block (various PHY)
USB controller, ATA, MIPI port, NAND controller etc
TSMC 65nm
Uses many TSMC IPs
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS

It’s interesting to note that Langwell is manufactured at TSMC (, while high performance Lincroft is made in-house.

Moorestown platform

Moorestown is using 45nm Intel technology


Above picture shows actual Moorstown platform. It’s about half of size of credit card, including much smaller Lincroft and Langwell.

Intel Moorestown

Next generation of Intel’s smartphone application process is called Medfield using 32nm technology.

Intel is taking a graduated approach to the smartphone market: the ultimate target is the mainstream smartphone

Medfield powered smartphone is slated at 2011.

BTW, isn’t it interesting all those three chips start “M”? Maybe finally intel folks start to get confused by so many code name, so make some hint using same “M” for …maybe “mobile”?

Even intel’s mobile OS has a name “M”oblin..^^;;

Here is some more details for 32nm “M”.

Process Integration
Moorestown 45nm Two chip solution using SiP technology
Medfield 32nm Singlechip solution (complete SOC)

Medfield is known to be one chip solution using SOC technology. It’s not clear how Intel put TSMC’s IPs (IO portion) in the chip.

In general, smartphone area is a lot more competitive than netbook or notebook. It’s not surprising that the most important feature is the low cost. Intel has not been used to this kind of game.. It’s interesting to see how intel compete in this environment.

Intel became household name even though component company as a result of  hugely sucessful “intel inside” campaign. This has given intel a significant customer recognition advantage that actually differentiates the end product. One of important decision factor for consumer to buy computer is which CPU is used in the computer.  Not sure whether Intel will put “intel inside” sticker on cell phone, though. The most important performance feature in smartphone is and will be quality of voice, and this is largely dependent on carrier and modem, not really CPU.

Intel also needs to come up with a solution of smaller form-factor for the sticker. Maybe just big “M” logo is enough?

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