Intel's next mobile chip prepped for sampling

Intel is getting ready to ship its next low-power mobile-phone chip for sampling.

Intel on Wednesday said its next low-power chip for mobile phones is being readied for sampling -- progress for the chip maker that has big plans in the mobile space.

Intel showed off a wafer with chips based on the Moorestown platform and is working quickly to get the chips to manufacturing so they can be tested more widely, said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of the ultra-mobility group at Intel, during a keynote speech on Wednesday at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

With a hoped-for release date before 2010, Chandrasekher said the new chips will reduce power consumption by up to 10 times compared to Intel's current processors for handheld computers. They will also bring more computing applications and a full high-definition content experience to those devices.

At the heart of the Moorestown platform will be a system-on-chip code-named Lincroft, which will integrate a graphics, video and memory controller on a single chip.

More information about Moorestown will be revealed as the release date comes closer, Chandrasekher said.

Intel currently develops Atom chips for handheld computers, which have shipped in products like mobile Internet devices from vendors including Clarion and Lenovo. Intel has another version of the Atom processor for low-cost PCs and desktops.

After a snapshot of an OQO handheld with an Atom chip surfaced on UMPC Portal, a mobile-computing blog, rumors swirled on Tuesday that the mobile PC maker would use the chip in a future device. However, OQO's CEO Dennis Moore dodged the rumor, saying the device was just a prototype, not a product announcement. It was displayed at IDF.

Chandrasekher demonstrated a number of software and hardware enhancements to the Atom chip for MIDs. He showed off a ruggedized MID from Panasonic that has eight hours of battery life, and another MID that could fully decode high-definition content, calling it the first such device in the world.

The full Internet experience is coming to MIDs and Intel is working to improve that, Chandrasekher said.

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