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Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Intel Won't Use ARM to Make Chips, Unveils Road Map For 22- and 14-nm Atom Processors

Intel's chief today said that the company will not adopt rival ARM Holdings' technology to build mobile chips, and said smartphones using its silicon would go on sale next year.

"There's no advantage going in there, we'd be beholden to someone else, beholden to ARM. We'd pay royalties to them so it would lower the overall profits," Otellini said. "I think we can do a better."

Intel is also rushing to improve the power consumption of its mobile processors, with new chips being launched for tablets and smartphones.

This month, Intel took the wraps off next-generation technology that crams more transistors onto chips, betting it will eventually become a significant advantage in tablets and smartphones.

Smartphones using Intel's new Medfield chip will go on sale early next year, executives said.

"With Medfield we're in the power envelope for phones ... We're working with several customers and we start to expect to see the revenue ramp toward the end of this year," Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith said.

Intel's chip road map is also expected to focus on lower power processors, delivering 22- and 14-nm versions of its Atom processor in the next three years.

"We decided our road map is inadequate, and we needed to change the center point," said chief executive Paul Otellini.

Intel will release 14-nm Airmont and 22-nm Silvermont versions of Atom in addition to a 32-nm Saltwell design in the next 36 months, Otellini said. The acceleration of new Atom designs will create a "very compelling road map that doubles the pace of Moore's Law" progress for the architecture, he said.

The move essentially shifts Intel's center of gravity in design from 35-40W notebook processors to 15W notebook and SoC chips, Otellini said. "The center point will increasingly be in ultra-mobility," he said, a word Intel uses to indicate smartphone- and tablet-class designs

However, the company said it will not have a major smartphone design for its Atom products until the first half of 2012.

Otellini said Intel now has 2,000 design wins for Atom, 21 percent of them conversions from other architectures, mainly ARM.

He promised within the next 24 months, tablet-like ultrathin consumer PCs running multiple OS and supporting all-day battery life.

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