Intel will be introducing two processors for tablets and smartphones at this year’s Mobile World Congress from its Merrifield (smartphone) and Bay Trail (tablet) brands, both of which use the company’s Silvermont architecture. Supporting a statement made by Intel earlier in the year, these chips will be making an appearance in both Android and Windows tablets, although it looks like Android won’t be receiving the 64-bit variant of Bay Trail-T afterall.
For a quick refresh, Bay Trail will come in dual and quad core varieties, with max turbo frequencies reaching 2.4GHz, although non-turbo frequencies are more modestly clocked at around 1.4GHz, and has a maximum RAM capacity of 4GB. Sadly then, some of the benefits of 64 bit can’t even be realised with Bay Trail, even if Android was to support it. Merrifield, Intel’s newest smartphone chip, is set to improve battery life and offer up some performance enhancements over the current Clover Trail+ SoC, thanks to the move to 22nm from 32nm.
This year Intel is looking to finally make a strong push into Android, having turned its Windows orientated business model on its head at the end of last year. Intel is hoping that Bay Trail, and the allure of 64 bit processing, will help capture some market share before its new line-up of processors land later this year.
Most of the Bay Trail Android tablets really start showing up more in Q2…remember we made a shift, the original program for Bay Trail was all Windows,
Following on from MWC, Intel is also set to release a refresh of its Bay Trail-M processors in March, followed by an update to the company’s mobile Haswell processors, although these are much more likely to appear in laptops than tablets. Finally, the launch of Intel’s miniature Quark X1000 SoC is scheduled before May, which is designed with the Internet of Things in mind.
In the second half of the year, Intel is on track to hit 14nm manufacturing with its new Airmont architecture and Cherry Trail SoC for tablets. Smartphone wise, Intel will also be releasing its new Moorefield SoCs in the third quarter, as well as a new SoFIA program for budget oriented handsets. Moorefield uses the 22nm processing node, and, unlike the Merrifield SoC, includes a TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA modem, which could finally make Intel a competitive choice for high-end smartphone manufacturers.
Of course Intel’s biggest problem isn’t with its own product roadmap, which is finally looking pretty solid, but with ARM, whose manufacturing partners are also gearing up their own higher performance 64 bit chips. If you’d like a more detailed comparison between what the two companies have lined up for 2014, then check out our roadmap preview.