For some time now, when it comes to mobile devices it has been Intel outside.
The Santa Clara chip giant, whose ubiquitous Intel Inside campaign has dominated the world of computers, hopes that will change as it gets set to unveil a new, low-powered chip for mobile Internet devices and phones, codenamed Silverthorne, at the International Solid State Circuits Conference at San Francisco this week.
Not only have significant parts of the chip been developed at Intel India, Silverthorne could be a way for Intel to play a much larger role in India, the fastest growing market for mobile phones, and other cellphone markets.
Intel has long established a strong presence with its computer chips, but hasn’t been able to break into the mobile processors market, primarily because of the low-power requirements of hand-held devices. Phones require power in hundreds of milliwatts and Intel, typically, couldn’t easily get much below 5 watts of power.
Silverthorne, Intel’s first low-powered chip with sub-1 watt to 2 watts power, will be launched worldwide in July.
“We have a very rich road map for bringing the value of the full Internet to the hand-held based on Intel architecture,” said John McClure, director, marketing, Intel South Asia.
In a late January interview with Mint, Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer, had said: “About three years ago, we decided we wanted to take the Intel architecture down in power considerably that’s taken us to the below 1 watt range, which will enable the mobile Internet devices, but we have every intent to continue to reduce the power further and at least get down to levels that would satisfy smartphones like BlackBerry. We see that happening in the next two-three years.”
India has played a crucial role in Intel’s low-powered processors.
“I can say that the India site is a leader in driving low power and small form factor solutions. We believe there is a sizeable volume opportunity in India due to the law of large numbers. Even though the percentage of the market that is buying handsets, can access the Internet and do web browsing is small at about 10%, that is a very large number when you look at six-eight million new handsets being sold here each month,” said McClure. “We also believe there are many vertical market opportunities like healthcare, rural, and education that can benefit from the availability of these types of devices.”