Intel Debuts New Atom Platform For Smartphones, Tablets


Intel launched a new dual-core Atom processor for smartphones and tablets at Mobile World Congress 2013 Monday as the world's largest chip company looks to improve its standing in the mobile processor market.

Intel's new Atom system-on-a-chip, codenamed Clover Trail+, follows the previously released Clover Trail platform for Windows devices and is specifically designed for smartphones and Android tablets, where Intel has been losing ground to more advanced ARM-based processors.

The Clover Trail+ 32nm platform features three dual-core Atom chips -- Z2580, Z2560 and Z2520 -- with speeds of up to 2GHz, 1.6GHz and 1.2GHz, respectively. The platform also supports Intel's Hyper-Threading Technology, which allows the chips to run four applications' threads at the same time.

[Related: Intel Pairs Caching Software With SSDs, Adds Linux Support]

A key area of improvement from the previous versions of Atom is Clover Trail+'s graphics capabilities; the new platform comes with a dual-core GPU plus Intel Graphics Media Accelerator graphics engine supporting up to 533MHz with boost mode. Intel says Clover Trail+ will deliver three times the graphics performance of the Atom Z2460 released last year.

Clover Trail+ supports 1,900-x-1,200 display resolutions for full-size Android tablets and also features support for two cameras per device with a primary camera sensor for up to 16 megapixels. Intel said Clover Trail + includes support for the latest Android release, version 4.2 or "Jelly Bean."

Intel named Lenovo, Asus and ZTE as hardware OEM partners announcing support for Clover Trail+ with forthcoming smartphones and tablets. The chip giant first introduced Clover Trail+ at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show last month, where Lenovo also announced its new IdeaPhone K900 would be packing an Atom Z2580 processor. Lenovo plans to introduce the smartphone in the second quarter of 2013 in China, but there's no word yet on availability in North America.

Along with Clover Trail+, Intel also announced its forthcoming 22nm smartphone Atom SoC, codenamed "Merrifield." The 22nm Atom platform will feature an entirely new processor architecture that Intel said will deliver improved device performance, power efficiency and battery life.

Intel plans to transition to Merrifield "later this year," according to the announcement, but the chip maker hasn't offered a specific launch window for the technology.

PUBLISHED FEB. 25, 2013