Tag Archive | "ces 2012"

With Medfield and Android, Intel Prove They’re Ready to Play

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Intel_Smartphone_Reference_Design_front_575pxWhen I tested an Intel Menlow-based MID in July 2008 and saw the PC architecture streaming music into a browser-player running at 2.8W I knew Intel were on the right track. Two years later with their next-gen architecture, Moorestown, they tackled the standby power drain and managed to get it into a phone. I had exclusive hands-on and although the device was hot and eventually deemed uncompetitive, it was clear to see where this was heading. This week at CES I put my hand on the back of an Intel Medfield-based smartphone and felt nothing. No heat! On the front, I saw a quick user experience and when I tested Sunspider I saw an impressive result of 1290ms, with Android 2.x.

Over at AnandTech, meanwhile, Anand has been discussing more details about the performance and energy consumption figures.  Not only are we seeing good performance but Intel are telling us that the efficiency is in the leading class too.  The most impressive figure on the article? 1W browsing. That’s with screen-on and 3G-on. 1 WATT! Intel are now able to control a ‘PC’ to the point where everything turns off except the parts required. That doesn’t mean that Intel will be competitive in all areas though. Like Ultrabooks, the platform is likely to have a high ‘dynamic range’ and probably a higher system thermal design characteristic but if the work that Intel have done on Android is solid, that may not be a problem.

What a shame though that Meego wasn’t around to benefit from Medfield. I’m sure there are Meego devices in the Intel labs working just fine and I’m sure that Tizen is likely to re-surface too (My bet – Samsung + Intel + Tizen make an announcement at MWC) but it would have been nice to see Intel’s Meego work result in a product. I wonder how Nokia are feeling at this point? With the N9 having been a success and the figures on Medfield/Android looking good, Intel may get sweet revenge!

P1010989 (800x600)What Intel need now are product partners and platform advantages. Being competitive isn’t going to be enough to make the best product in the market so this is where 1080p hardware encoding, hardware-based image processing, Wireless-Display, McAfee and other technologies come into play. Intel Insider (for securely streaming first-run movies) and integrated radios, hardware encryption and of course, Intel’s silicon process advantage. if you consider how far Intel have come in the last 4 years, look at their technology portfolio and think about what’s going to happen in the next two years there should be no doubt that Intel will be playing, and possibly leading in the years to come.

I won’t discount Cortex A15 and similar ARM architectures and we must not forget that ARMv8 is going to be feeding in after a few years but Intel’s position with Medfield now enables it to go and court some of its biggest customers for phones, tablets, set-top boxes and more and that partner ecosystem could be the real advantage for Intel.

Intel Phone is ‘Production Grade’ and ‘On-Par’ say Technology Review

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In July last year Carrrypad was one of the few publications to have unrestricted access to a Moorestown phone. Made by Aava as a reference design it ran Meego. We were supposed to see Intel phones later that year but it turned out that the Moorestown platform wasn’t good enough and Intel promptly moved focus to the Medfield platform. In February this year Intel held an early prototype Medfield phone up on stage. This time it was running Android. Later in the year Meego was effectively dropped and since then Intel have been pushing Android (via an official tie-up with Google) and talking about 32nm Medfield-based phones in the first half of 2011.

intel_phone_x616

Technology Review have had hands-on with an early prototype, possibly another Aava reference design or development kit that Intel are calling ‘production grade.’ They have also had hands-on with a Medfield Tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich too. Unfortunately there aren’t many details or thoughts but there’s a hint that Intel will reveal more at CES in just 3 weeks time. We’ll be in the keynote to cover this of course.

The only real feedback given by Technology Review on the Intel phone was this:

The phone was powerful and pleasing to use, on a par with the latest iPhone and Android handsets. It could play Blu-Ray-quality video and stream it to a TV if desired; Web browsing was smooth and fast. Smith says Intel has built circuits into the Medfield chip specifically to speed up Android apps and Web browsing.

That’s likely to indicate Wi-Di integration and other hardware acceleration. Remember there will be hardware video encoding in Medfield.  It’s also likely that Medfield phones scale up a little bit higher than other leading smartphones in terms of performance. What you get in performance though, is likely to cost in terms of battery life.

At the end of the day, if Medfield is good enough, easy to design and integrate and, importantly, cheap enough, manufacturers are likely to be interested. If it offers unique features such as Wireless Display and other technologies, it might even raise an eyebrow with the customer but it’s still going to have to compete in a fierce smartphone market where it will have to differentiate itself against Android and other popular brands, operating systems and platforms.

Via Slashgear

Source: Technoloy Review

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