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Making the case for Intel and Smartphones

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Intel’s Paul Otellini in the keynote at the Barclays Capital Global Technology Conference 2010 claimed they will have multiple tablets and smartphones being introduced in 2011. The slides and webcast is available on the Intel’s website. Otellini claims that Intel is getting ready to challenge ARM on both the tablet and the smartphone fronts. Otellini said the smartphone venture is “a marathon, not a sprint.” He went on to reveal that Intel’s smartphone processor is currently in the customer sampling stage and should begin popping up in smartphones during the second half of 2011 and into 2012.

 

The slides and webcast reveal an interesting postulation on why Intel can challenge the dominance of ARM in both tablets and smartphones – and that argument is being made on Slides 13 and 14:

 

 

Listening to Otellini on the webcast – the argument is that architectural changes take time typically a decade – the message to the world being ” Wait, have patience. Intel will prevail. We have the scale, capital and technology.” This is the first I have heard on why Intel can take on ARM in the mobile market. Time will tell, the next 12 to 24 months how it plays out but for the first time Intel seems to be making credible arguments on why they would succeed.

 

Disclosure: I am long $INTC but also invested for long in ARM-core semiconductor providers such as $MRVL. I guess I am hedging my bets!

 

 

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Written by Ashu Joshi

December 12, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Posted in Processors

Tagged with ,

The “Power” of Intel – Literally

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This week I setup the Sony Blu-ray Player with GoogleTV. I couldn’t wait for my Logitech Revue to be delivered and grabbed the Sony from their store in Atlanta. I took a lot of pictures, one particular picture triggered the idea for this post – the Power of Intel. The new AppleTV is really small. In fact so small that the fan, yes the FAN, on the Sony Player is comparable to the entire AppleTV. I strongly suspect that the size impact of the Sony GoogleTV Blu-ray Player is because of the Intel Sodaville CE4100 SOC. The fan also makes me think how much power would this be consuming as well the amount of heat that needs to be dissipated. Fortunately the fan was pretty quiet – I could not hear it when I brought my ear very close to it as well. The lack of of good power management on the Sony GoogleTV was obvious when the setup process of GoogleTV prompted for “Quick start”.

Written by Ashu Joshi

October 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Internet TV, Processors

Innovative Platforms: Plug Computers

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Marvell Technology introduced a new category of computing at the beginning of 2009 called Plug Computing – computers that plug directly into electrical sockets. The strategy behind Marvell’s effort was to create a community around Plug Computers and to a larger degree they have been pretty successful.

Take a look at the number of partners and community development sites have come up in the last 12 months at the community site here and notable among these are the Pogoplug by Cloud Engines and an open source community being built by a student – Mike Staszel at Openpogo. Major tech bloggers such as Om Malik have nothing but praise for the simplicity and ease of Pogoplug.

The Plugs are using high-performance processors – they run the Marvell Sheeva ARM-core powered processor with very high integration, low-power consumption at 1.2GHz.

The initiative is innovative in its packaging of a computing platform – in the form of a “plug” – and while there may be many processors in the market that could fit in the same form factor (as of a Plug) – the Sheeva from Marvell is a very good combination of features and functions in the given small form factor.

The packaging innovation is being taken a step further – establishing a community led development strategy for the Plug Computers. Earlier this year I attempted to start hacking on ARM-core based systems by getting the TI Beagleboard which I wrote about here – but I found the entire process complicated and after getting the board never did anything with it. On the other hand getting started with the SheevaPlug was so much simpler (except the ordering process)….

Marvell, of course, hopes that this community driven development model on its processor will lead to an “iPhone SDK” style model and promoting richer software for the Plugs and hence in turn selling more processors.

Marvell is on the right track – the CES in Las Vegas in January should show a glimpse of what is in store for Plug Computing.

Written by Ashu Joshi

December 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm