There’s a conference taking place in San Francisco right now called the “International Electron Devices Meeting”. Think of it as a gathering of the world’s leading experts on chip fabrication. We’re not talking chip design, like what Qualcomm does, we mean the actual chip manufacturing that’s done by companies such as TSMC and Intel.
Speaking about Intel, they decided to announce that the 22 nanometer technology they’re currently using for desktop and laptop processors will come to smartphones and tablets in 2013. Mark Bohr, one of the company’s engineers, said that these mobile chips will be manufactured in volume.
Why should you care about this? Motorola shipped an Intel powered smartphone a few months ago called the RAZR i. According to a review published by Engadget, it’s just as fast as Snapdragon packing RAZR m; they even say the RAZR i has better battery life! The thing is, the chip inside the RAZR i was built using 32 nanometer technology. Intel can’t squeeze any more performance out of it unless they go smaller.
Can a 22 nanometer Intel chip beat whatever Qualcomm and Samsung are working on right now? That remains to be seen. There are so many unknowns at the present moment that it’s not even funny. Will Samsung introduce 20 nanometer chips in 2013? Will TSMC do the same? Will a dual core ARM Cortex A15 compete against whatever Intel announces? Which companies will build a smartphone with an Intel chip when Qualcomm is the brand everyone trusts?
Let’s be realistic for a second, you’re not going to be able to buy a phone or tablet with a 22 nanometer Intel chip inside until the second half of 2013. That’s a lot of time for competitors to work on whatever it is they plan to bring to the table. We say it’s best to keep your eye on Intel, but you’ll just be wasting time if you decide to wait to purchase an Intel phone.