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  (Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC)
Intel plans to use its aggressive process development to drive it to market dominance

On Tuesday morning Intel Corp. (INTC) CEO Brian Krzanich and Intel's equally new president Renée James showed off the company's ambitious plans to retain semiconductor leadership.

I. Looking Ahead to 7 nm

"Intel can deliver technologies no other company can [today] to the [semiconductor] market," Mr. Krzanich enthused to the audience at his morning 2013 Intel Developer Forum keynote.

Key to Intel's plans to gain ground in the mobile space (tablets, smartphones)  -- where it continues to struggle -- and to retain leadership in the traditional PC space is an aggressive path of die shrinks, which culminates with an unnamed 7 nanometer chip in 2017.

IDF 2013
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Having delivered a 22 nm architecture refresh earlier this year (Haswell) Mr. Krzanich revealed that the world's first 14 nm consumer chip will be shipping to partners before the end of the year.

Intel blasted analyst skepticism of sub 10 nm die shrinks, putting up a host of analyst comments decrying the technologies Intel is using in today's commercial offerings and financially or logistically unfeasible or limited.

Mr. Krzanich, who joined Intel in 1982 recalls, "[Analysts] have predicted the death of Moore's Law at least once a decade since I joined Intel, but today it is still alive and well."

II. 22 nm Smartphone Atoms are Shipping

On the mobile front, Intel's smartphone-aimed Atom variants continue to trail a bit behind the Core brand desktop/laptop line in feature size (and even the Atom tablet chip line which has been receiving die shrinks somewhat sooner).  

But Intel reveals that it is currently shipping its first 22 nm smartphone chips (core: Silvermont; SoC: ValleyView; chipset: Bay Trail).  It's unclear how soon this OEM stock will reach the consumer inside actual devices, but it's possible that Intel will have a feature size lead in smartphone chips for the first time in some time, given that the smallest smartphone processors are currently built on 28 nm processes.

22 nm Atom
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Mr. Krzanich claims that the jump from 32 nm to 22 nm cut smartphone Atom's power usage in half.

If that's true Intel -- who supports Google Inc.'s (GOOG) ubiquitous Android and long with numerous other lesser used mobile operating systems -- may have one mean performer on its hands. Intel's last generation Medfield Atoms were in many scenarios the fastest chip available, faster than anything Arm Holdings Plc (LON:ARM) and its coalition put out.  However, their battery life was only mediocre, and they struggled to sell OEMs to switch given (reportedly) higher pricing versus ARM chips.

III. Intel Has Big Plans for Mobile Modems

The new ValleyView SoC is the first Intel chip to feature an on-die LTE modem -- a major reason why the company was able to achive such substantial power savings.  Currently that LTE modem only supports so-called "first generation" (data only) LTE, but by the end of the year a new variant will be available that supports "advanced LTE", which carries both data and voice over high speed fourth generation wireless links.

Intel Atom w/ LTE
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Moving ahead in 2014 Intel's major announced mobile effort will be to roll out its carrier aggregation technology, which it's currently finalizing in the lab.  After some hiccups Mr. Krzanich showed the technology using signal optimization to transform a 35 mbps (average) link to 70 mbps.  Intel says that 100 mbps connections should be possible without substantially increasing network congestion or using more power.

All in all Intel's plans look to be enough to keep it competive, although it still must make a compelling case to OEMs to overlook compatibility concerns in the mobile space.

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By sidneytee on 9/11/2013 12:34:51 PM , Rating: 5
Surely, with Nokia now in Microsoft's possession, it's time to gamble on x86 beating ARM.
It would be able to truly unify Win8 architecture at the same time.
They'll receive flak, but it'll be the first game changer Microsoft have offered the smartphone race.

RE: Wintel
By Nortel on 9/11/13, Rating: -1
RE: Wintel
By ClownPuncher on 9/11/2013 12:54:44 PM , Rating: 1
Why not? It works great on a phone.

RE: Wintel
By Gungel on 9/11/2013 12:55:35 PM , Rating: 2
You have to look at the big picture. Developers can make one app that can run on any device no matter the form factor. After sales support would be much easier with one OS that rules them all.

Metro is great for phones and tablets and would be great for desktops too if you could run all apps in a separate window on your desktop.

RE: Wintel
By 91TTZ on 9/11/2013 2:48:04 PM , Rating: 3
You have to look at the big picture. Developers can make one app that can run on any device no matter the form factor. After sales support would be much easier with one OS that rules them all.

They can already do that with Java.

RE: Wintel
By Bubbacub on 9/11/2013 4:44:17 PM , Rating: 3
java is the devil's work

write once debug everywhere IMO,_run_anyw...

RE: Wintel
By bug77 on 9/12/2013 9:21:25 AM , Rating: 2
It's not the tool's fault if you abuse it.

RE: Wintel
By AstroGuardian on 9/12/2013 7:31:46 AM , Rating: 2
They can technically. But would you want to run Excel or Powerpoint or SAP on your 4 inch mobile phone?

It would be an end which is already dead.

RE: Wintel
By jbwhite99 on 9/13/2013 12:52:02 PM , Rating: 2
what is BYOD? This is what people are driving for. I agree, it seems silly. But some companies are ditching PCs for BYOD. They'll go back to PCs in 24-36 months, after productivity dives.

RE: Wintel
By XZerg on 9/11/2013 12:44:54 PM , Rating: 2
and is something that i have always thought the W8 should have delivered. maybe w9 would get to that now.

RE: Wintel
By Shig on 9/11/2013 1:28:01 PM , Rating: 1
Good guy AMD is the one doing the awesome work. They're bridging the gap between x86 and ARM instruction sets. They'll be able to make chips that work on both major platforms and Intel will HAVE to make chips that work on both platforms if they want to keep a high marketshare.

RE: Wintel
By StevoLincolnite on 9/12/2013 7:02:21 AM , Rating: 2
Good guy AMD is the one doing the awesome work. They're bridging the gap between x86 and ARM instruction sets. They'll be able to make chips that work on both major platforms and Intel will HAVE to make chips that work on both platforms if they want to keep a high marketshare.

I guess you missed the memo on Intels Binary translation a year or two ago with it's debut of Medfield.

Essentially, it can do x86 and ARM.

RE: Wintel
By CyberAngel on 9/11/2013 1:51:01 PM , Rating: 2
W9 no - but it integrates better than the WP8.1 does
I have the exactly same thoughts:
A phone with FullHD display (Like Lumia 1520)
and miracast support could be used with Metro UI or Desktop.
Using a huge HDTV (already tested with my S4 ACtive)
you can surf the net easily, but imagine all the software!
Maybe only Metro UI software could run nicely in an Atom.
I wish for 8/16GB RAM on a Phone at 7nm.
The voltage is maybe down to 0.7V or even lower.
They could have power on => TurboBoost (Charger or USB)
and low power on Battery.
I fully understand that Video editing, Photoshopping, Engineering (3D modelling) etc. might no be feasible,
but anything else is (hopefully).
I think I'd still use Metro UI programs.
You may start to enjoy that after the 2014 Feb WP 8.1 !!
Let's wait and see is MS goes ALL-IN with Intel!

7, really?
By melgross on 9/11/2013 1:57:35 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know. Most experts are doubtful that 10nm will be easy. They are doubtful that anything much smaller is even possible. 2017 is a long way from now in the world of electronics. Possibly Intel has found a way around the quantum tunneling problems, or maybe they are hoping they will.

RE: 7, really?
By Jeffk464 on 9/11/2013 2:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
It would be a bummer if we really hit the wall at 14nm. Ever since Sandy Bridge is seems performance gains have been getting less and less every generation.

RE: 7, really?
By Jeffk464 on 9/11/2013 3:09:55 PM , Rating: 2
Heck the performance gains have been so small it might take a second generation 7nm core i5 to get me to upgrade from my sandy bridge core i5.

RE: 7, really?
By TSS on 9/11/2013 3:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
It's entirely possible, i thought i read an article not too long ago (on here even, but too lazy to look for it tonight) about how they'd be able to make chips below 10 nm using traditional lithography. Using some kind of strange lens setup to focus the beam way below what it should be able to accomplish due to it's wavelenght.

Sub 7nm should even be possible using entirely new techniques, but below 4nm? That's going to be a serious stretch because of the quantum mechanical effects involved. I'm no expert on that but it's what i (vaguely) remember from reading articles over the years.

At some point physics will hit a wall. Moore's law just has to break down beyond 2020. It's not just technical problems that have to be overcome, it's theoretically not even possible to go smaller.

That's when the real interesting things start. Don't get me wrong, it blows my mind that they've managed to get 7nm to work, even though it's theoretically possible. But i've been hearing about dieshrinks all the way back from before there even where pentiums (...god i feel old. I'm not old, just feel like it). Whatever they're going to think up to increase computing power at the point they cannot go any smaller, will be closer to magic then actual science (well... beyond true 3D chips that is).

Technologically speaking atleast it's a great time to be alive.

RE: 7, really?
By CalaverasGrande on 9/11/2013 4:55:20 PM , Rating: 2
maybe by the time that comes around someone will have gotten the more exotic stuff working. Josephson junctions, quantum computing etc come to mind.

Wow - Props
By BSMonitor on 9/12/2013 9:32:43 AM , Rating: 3
An Intel article from Mick without the constant anti-Intel mantra..

Could it be Mick is impressed with 22nm Atoms?? Your point is well reasoned as well. The software stack affects x86 adoption. Google and Microsoft(WP8) are the most likely to jump on board. Apple, well, since they have been tweaking and implementing their own ARM IP CPUs... Probably not going to see x86 iOS or iPhones any time soon.

RE: Wow - Props
By purerice on 9/12/2013 11:25:09 AM , Rating: 2
Everybody comes around sooner or later. I was the biggest AMD fanboi I knew until Banias/Dothan came around.

If ARM is tied to Google and apple it will be tough for x86 (Intel or AMD) to break into smartphones, but I hope they both do because I have lost interest in smartphones that are office compatible... but not really.

By ptmmac on 9/12/2013 12:29:08 PM , Rating: 2
Intel keeps pretending all is well with Moores Law when in fact PC sales are dropping because e have not been increasing performance exponentially for over a decade. No wonder they are talking about cell phones. It is the power envelope not the geometry that is killing them. Mobile devices are designed with a low power in mind. They have not hit the wall yet.

Monolithic cores no more
By mjv.theory on 9/11/2013 2:50:46 PM , Rating: 1
I suspect the future of "computing" rests with a use specific processor approach: many and various CPU cores, GPU cores and "co-processors", all dynamically allocated to the task(s) at hand. See the Anandtech Exynos 5420 MP article for a foretaste. Samsung, AMD, Qualcomm, Imagination, et al are all going to be heading down this route. The notion, then, that x86 is, or is not, a better general purpose computing solution, becomes a much more difficult question to answer, and perhaps even a question that will fast lose its relevance.

Since process tech probably has a physical limit, then other strategies will have to be sought. For Intel to rely only on their present manufacturing advantage seems risky, so presumably they will end up following a similar "HSA" approach to everyone else. It will still be interesting to see the CISC vs RISC comparison continue to develop over the next few years.

Given the above, its seems quite unlikely that M$ could ride an Windows-on-x86 train to mobile supremacy. Linux, Android, OSX, iOS and ironically Windows Phone (and even WinRT) have shown that Windows is neither the only nor necessarily the best game in town. I find it more likely that Windows (and OSX for that matter) will be gradually absorbed into a converged and mobile centric computing environment, where the "desktop" is an extension of mobile and cloud, rather than the other way round.

Hey intel
By Ammohunt on 9/11/13, Rating: -1
RE: Hey intel
By iamkyle on 9/12/2013 5:24:31 PM , Rating: 2
No 'mater' how big you make your comment it still sucks for just about every serious DT reader you post for it.

RE: Hey intel
By Ammohunt on 9/16/2013 3:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
The truth hurts denial and down rating comments doesn't change the fact i posted.

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