Intel Atom Processors Destined for More Embedded Devices


New packages mean four different Atom processors should appear in more different machines

Intel has launched four new Atom processors designed for devices including phones, infotainment centres and other mobile devices.  The company says it expects the market for low-cost chips in embedded devices will grow greatly in coming years.

The new processors have different packaging to fit more devices, and also include options that can cope with wider temperature ranges. The Atom Processor Z510P and Z510PT, have a core speed of 1.1GHz; the Z520PT, has a ore speed of 1.3GHz; and the Z530P can reach 1.5GHz.

Intel and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing) also announced a partnership allowing Intel to port its Atom CPUs onto TSMC’s technology platform, so TSMC can get the processor into more netbooks, MIDs (mobile Internet devices) and smartphones.

By extending the small Atom processors to embedded industries for purposes such as in-vehicle infotainment, industrial control and automation, and media phones, Intel said it believes it can insert itself strategically into the growing market for embedded products, which require low power usage and the ability to operate smoothly in unconstrained thermal environments.

“Today there are 5 billion devices connected to the embedded Internet,” said Doug Davis, vice president of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, during a conference call where he referred to IDC research numbers. “There will be 15 billion by 2015.”

Intel points to the Intel Atom Z5xx series in particular as having a package size and power envelope that will allow it to work well in smartphones, which provide Internet-based applications in addition to simple communications services.

“We can see these kinds of devices extending into the enterprise, with a very specific set of applications,” Davis said. “We think there’s an opportunity to extend the platform.”

Those Intel Atom processors designed for in-vehicle systems will be paired with the Microsoft Auto software platform, designed to provide drivers with features such as mobile device integration and speech recognition.

“We’re excited to see them introducing new low-power-consumption Intel Atom processors targeted for in-vehicle systems,” Greg Baribault, director of product management for the Automotive Business Unit at Microsoft, said in a statement. “Intel Atom processors and the Microsoft Auto software platform will provide scalability for the new era of advanced in-vehicle solutions.”

The new products will be available in the second quarter of 2009.