The smartphone market is hot and posting much higher growth rates than other segments of the mobile phone world. As smartphone sales rise, consumers are looking to perform more and more functions with their devices on a daily basis.
LG and Intel have announced that they have teamed up to bring an LG MID and smartphone to market in 2010 that uses the upcoming Intel Moorestown platform. A Moorestown-based system-on-chip that puts a 45nm CPU, graphics, memory controller, video encoding, and decoding in one package codenamed Lincroft will be the heart of the LG devices. The devices will also utilize the Intel Langwell I/O hub that offers the capability to connect to wireless, storage, and display devices.
Intel and LG are talking about the Moorestown based devices at the Mobile World Congress in Spain, but are not expected to make the devices available until 2010. Intel faces stiff competition as it again tries to enter into smartphone and MID market. The market is dominated by ARM with ARM processors available from Qualcomm, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Freescale and more.
One major benefit of ARM-based CPUs compared to previous generation Intel CPUs for the smartphone and MID market was that the ARM devices use much less power. Intel will also have to convince telecom carriers to support a new device and a new platform, which could prove difficult.
InStat analyst Jim McGregor said, "Intel is still a key innovator in the market. The Atom processor is a success and with the Moorestown platform, they are taken it down into a realm where it is actually competitive for these mobile solutions… Do they have an edge when it comes to ARM – no. Intel does not have relationships with the entire ecosystem."
EWeek reports that despite the challenges ahead of Intel in entering the MID and smartphone market, the massive chipmaker has a lot going for it. Intel has more marketing dollars to spend than many competitors in the market and has a strong research and development organization.
McGregor says that Intel needs to get Moorestown to operate inside a 500-milliwatt envelope to be competitive with ARM-based devices. Intel has so far been mum on exactly what the power requirements for the platform are. All Intel will offer as far as power consumption is concerned is a claim that Moorestown will offer a ten times reduction in idle power use compared to its previous MID platform.
LG has said that the Moorestown-based MID and smartphone will use an Intel-developed OS called Moblin. Moblin is Linux-based and has been specifically designed to work with the Intel x86 microarchitecture. Many feel that LG could also be looking to Android as an operating system for the devices as well.
McGregor continued, "Right now, these handset vendors are going to be testing the waters with new products in one of the harshest environments out there. They are going to be testing the waters with Moblin, with Android, with x86 and with ARM."
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