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Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Intel 'Bay Trail' SoC Coming In $199 Tablets, Thundebolt 2 Enables 4K Video Transfer


At an industry event in Taipei today, Hermann Eul, general manager of Intel's Mobile and Communications Group, unveiled new details about the company's forthcoming Intel Atom processor-based SoC for tablets ("Bay Trail-T") due in market for holiday this year.

Based on the new Silvermont microarchitecture, the next generation 22nm Intel technology for tablets and ultra-mobile devices will enable sleek designs with 8 or more hours of battery life and weeks of standby, as well as support Android and Windows 8.1.

Eul also demonstrated the Intel XMM 7160 multimode 4G LTE solution, now in final interoperability testing (IOT) with Tier 1 service providers across North America, Europe and Asia.

Building on the progress of the Intel Atom processor Z2760, the new products will deliver efficient, quad core processing that doubles the performance over the previous generation, according to Eul.

The next-generation Intel Atom processor-based SoC for tablets ("Bay Trail") provides the best balance of performance, features and battery life, he added. With the new 22nm Silvermont architecture, Intel delivers high performance with fewer cores, allowing Intel platforms to bring to life incremental features and capabilities.

Eul discussed Intel's focus on enabling a richer media and content experience by improving graphics performance. He then highlighted the tablet platform's new Gen 7 graphics that will offer more than three times the graphics capabilities, with support for DX11 for expanded PC application and game support.

The new Intel Atom processor-based platform comes equipped with hardware-based security with McAfee Live Safe. This digital life protection suite keeps online identity private, protects from phishing attacks and keeps data secure while protecting the devices.

Bay Trail also represents the first time Intel is offering its customers a mobile platform solution that is flexible with regard to operating system and the company will provide the same great Intel tablet performance and high-resolution graphics at cost savings to consumers.

Intel's platform and ecosystem enabling efforts will be focused initially on Intel Atom processor-based tablets running Android and Windows.

Intel expects tablets ppowered by its Bay Trail processor to cost under US$200. The company's aggressive approach on price highlights its urgent need to grow its tablet business as PC shipments sink. Intel is trying to catch up with ARM, whose processor designs are used in most tablets today.

In addition, Intel's strategy is to deliver low-power, global modem solutions that work across multiple bands, regions and devices.

Intel's XMM 7160 is one of the world's smallest and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions. The modem supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously, and also includes a configurable RF architecture running real-time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life and global LTE roaming in a single SKU.

Eul demonstrated the solution by showcasing a Bay Trail-based tablet over an LTE network connection, and said that Intel will begin shipments of multimode data 4G LTE in the coming weeks following final IOT with Tier 1 service providers in North America, Europe and Asia.

Eul also highlighted recent momentum with the "Clover Trail+".

ZTE disclosed the ZTE Grand X2 IN smartphone with Intel Inside and the ZTE GEEK. Featuring the Intel Atom processor Z2580, the smartphones are scheduled to be available in Europe and then China in the second half of this year.

Looking forward, Eul highlighted Intel's next Atom processor-based SoC for smartphones, codenamed "Merrifield." Taking advantage of the new 22nm Silvermont microarchitecture, Merrifield will enable a performance increase of greater than 50 percent and will also increase battery life over current-generation "Clover Trail+" product offerings. The platform also brings support for contextual awareness and personal services via an integrated sensor hub, and increased data, device and privacy protection.

Intel's mobile development is mostly focused on Android. Its Merrifield chip for smartphones will initially support Android.

Intel also announced that Thunderbolt Thunderbolt technology has been included on over 30 PCs and motherboards worldwide, including on more than a dozen new 4th generation Intel Core processor-based products.

At the video geekfest National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in April, Intel announced plans for an important advancement in Thunderbolt technology - the upcoming controller codenamed "Falcon Ridge" running at 20Gbs, a doubling of the bandwidth over the original Thunderbolt. Named "Thunderbolt 2", this next generation of the technology enables 4K video file transfer and display simultaneously. It is achieved by combining the two previously independent 10Gbs channels into one 20Gbs bi-directional channel that supports data and/or display. Current versions of Thunderbolt, although faster than other PC I/O technologies on the market today, are limited to an individual 10Gbs channel each for both data and display, less than the required bandwidth for 4K video transfer. Also, the addition of DisplayPort 1.2 support in Thunderbolt 2 enables video streaming to a single 4K video monitor or dual QHD monitors. All of this is made possible with full backward compatibility to the same cables and connectors used with today's Thunderbolt.

"By combining 20Gbs bandwidth with DisplayPort 1.2 support, Thunderbolt 2 creates an entirely new way of thinking about 4K workflows, specifically the ability to support raw 4K video transfer and data delivery concurrently," said Jason Ziller, Marketing Director for Thunderbolt at Intel. "And our labs aren?t stopping there, as demand for video and rich data transfer just continues to rise exponentially."

Professionals and enthusiasts alike will be able to create, edit, and view live 4K video streams delivered from a computer to a monitor over a single cable, while backing up the same file on an external drive, or series of drives, simultaneously along the same device daisy-chain. Thunderbolt 2 is currently slated to begin production before the end of this year, and ramp into 2014.


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