Intel Unveils Next Round of Mobile, XScale Chips

By Michael Singer

September 17, 2003

The No. 1 chipmaker shows off its next generation Sonoma chipsets containing the wireless Dothlan processor for laptops and Bulverde chip for PDAs and smartphones.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Building on its "Unwired" mantra, Intel Wednesday announced new additions to its mobile processor lineup including new chipsets that will help power laptops, PDAs and smartphones.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip making giant announced its next Intel Pentium M processor, code-named Dothan; a computing platform based on Intel Centrino mobile technology, code-named Sonoma; and technology for upcoming Intel XScale technology-based processors for cell phones and PDAs, code-named Bulverde. The company also announced a chipset with new power-saving features and high-performing integrated graphics for mobile PCs based on Intel Centrino mobile technology.

The advancements, due out beginning next year, are all a part of Intel's master plan to use wireless to drive the industry -- especially toward its products. The company is showing off its wares at the Intel Developers Forum here this week.

"Intel and the industry have delivered on the promise of mobility," Intel vice president Anand Chandrasekher said to attendees. "Last March, we introduced Intel Centrino mobile technology. Now more than 130 PC designs are expected to be available on the market by the end of this year. As I stand here today, Intel has verified the interoperability of Intel Centrino mobile technology with leading WLAN service providers who operate more than 21,000 hotspots worldwide."

Helping with the development side, the company said it plans on releasing tools like its VTune 7.1, VTune for Linux 2.0, C++ and Fortran 8.0 by the end of the year.

Currently shipping, the company said its new Intel 855GME chipset has power-saving features when used in combination with DDR-333 memory. The drop-in replacement for notebook PCs based on Intel Centrino mobile technology will be included in the Intel Stable Image Platform Program, which lets manufacturers and developers catch their breath by keeping design cycles to a minimum.

Later this year, Intel said it will continue with its push into 802.11a/b and 802.11b/g wireless networking components as well as its next-generation Intel Pentium M processor, code-named Dothan. Built using 90-nanometer manufacturing technology, Dothan has 140 million transistors and uses a strained silicon technique allowing electrical currents to flow better. The company declined to say how fast the processor would run but did say it would feature a 2MB power-optimized, integrated Level 2 cache for faster memory access.

The Sonoma mobile platform, scheduled to debut in the second half of 2004, will incorporate the Dothan Pentium M processor; internal 802.11a/b/g wireless LAN support; and a new chipset, code-named Alviso. The chipset will include a new Intel generated graphics engine and support new high-performance industry standards such as PCI Express and ExpressCard, next-generation DDR2 memory, next-generation physical storage (Serial ATA), and Intel's new Azalia audio interface.

PDA and Cell Mania
In addition to its PC designs, Intel said it continues to make progress moving into PDAs and mobile phones.

The company said an upcoming Intel XScale technology based processor, code-named Bulverde, will add camera phone capabilities and enhance low-power and multimedia performance for cell phones and PDAs. The processor will include Intel Wireless MMX technology for better multimedia; Intel Quick Capture technology that allows for real time video capture, rendering 4 mega pixels on the fly; and Intel Wireless SpeedStep technology that allows for three new low power modes.

The company also unveiled its Intel PXA800EF cellular processor, a chip based along the same lines as its Manitoba "Wireless-Internet-on-a-Chip." The new XScale processor is designed for 3G EDGE networks and should start making a market showing next year.

"We went form zero to 35 percent market share in the span of four years," said Intel senior vice president Ron Smith who attributed much of the company's legacy technology to Intel's 1999 acquisition of DSP Communications.

Smith said the new PXA chip would use the same type of silicon as its current GPS-supported ones and would only need a simple software upgrade on the same piece of silicon.

In putting its wireless chips to the test, Intel said it was conducting roaming hotspot trials in Asia that allow users to keep connected between different providers.

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