IDF - Intel begins sample production of Manitoba chip

Intel has begun producing samples of a chip, codenamed Manitoba, which incorporates an Xscale processor core, a digital signal processor (DSP) and flash memory on a single piece of silicon, said Ron Smith, senior vice president and general manager of the company's Wireless Computing and Communications Group, in a speech to hardware makers here at the Intel Developer Forum.

"This is fresh out of the factory," Smith said, holding up a 200-millimeter (8-inch) wafer containing samples of the chip.

Designed for use in phones and handheld devices that support GSM (Global Standard for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks, Manitoba is a key component of Intel's drive into the market for processors used in mobile devices.

Manitoba is different from other versions of the Xscale processor, which is designed to be used in handheld devices and is based on the Arm processor architecture, because it incorporates a DSP on the same piece of silicon as the processor core. Having the DSP and processor core on the same chip will allow handset makers to reduce the size and power consumption of their products while also simplifying design. The chip will also help Intel compete against chips from rivals like Texas Instruments Inc., which has been selling a version of its Arm-based Omap processor with an integrated DSP for some time.

While Smith did not say when Manitoba would begin shipping commercially, Intel executives said in June that Manitoba would be introduced before the end of the year.

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