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Powered Up: Intel Delivers New Line Of Mobile Chips

The x3, x5 and x7 Atom processors will power a range of low-cost smartphones, mainstream and premium tablets, and small-screen 2-in-1 devices in the coming year.

Intel Monday launched a new family of mobile processors at Mobile World Congress. The Atom x3, x5 and x7 processors are targeted at powering a range of low-cost smartphones, mainstream and premium tablets, and small-screen 2-in-1 devices in the coming year.

The three new mobile processors will extend Intel's mobile portfolio, where it has struggled for market share against competitors such as chip licensor ARM Holdings.

[Related: New ARM A72 Mobile Processor Tightens Pressure On Intel ]

"Hopefully this release will put [Intel] back in the game," said Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus Computer Systems, a Minneapolis-based custom system builder. "Intel has traditionally been focused on high-performance chips for desktop and server platforms, and then competition shifted as the mobile platform rose in popularity. Intel has been hard at work coming up with solutions for the mobility level, and we're seeing some well-thought-out plans here."

The Atom x3 processor series, a rebranded and improved version of SoFIA (Smart or Feature phone with Intel Architecture), is Intel's first fully integrated LTE modem-based SoC for phones, according to the company. The low-cost 64-bit, multicore Atom processors integrate 3G or 4G LTE connectivity to deliver affordable smartphones and phablets. According to Intel, 20 companies, including Asus, have so far committed to utilizing the Atom x3 chip design.

Meanwhile, the x5 and x7 series represent Intel's focus on high-end processors as the first 14nm SoC for tablets and small-screened 2-in-1 devices. Acer, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Toshiba have committed to using these mobile platforms in the coming year, according to Intel.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the new releases represent the company's attention to both mobility and connected devices.

"The evolution of the mobile landscape and growth of smart, connected devices has led to increased demand for more connectivity and real-time, protected data on those devices," said Krzanich. "All of these factors are driving a transformation of the network to accelerate the delivery of new personal computing experiences, services and capabilities in a safe and secure manner. Intel is one of the only companies in the world that can provide solutions end-to-end for the full spectrum of mobility."

Intel's competitive hurdle in the mobility processor space is ARM Holdings, a British chip licensor that unveiled in February its new Cortex-A72 mobile device-targeted processor, which boasts a 75 percent energy consumption reduction from its current devices.

"It all comes down to market share. … Intel's had a lot of issues competing with ARM in the past," said Swank. "Intel's been hard at work, and it's interesting to see the LTE advanced solutions they've come out with. Their new chips have some great new features, and it’s proof that they've started to adopt to the mobile space."

NEXT: Other Intel Announcements At Mobile World Congress


In addition to mobile chips, Intel executives unveiled several security partnerships and network infrastructure enhancements at Mobile World Congress.

The company said it would collaborate with LG Electronics and Samsung to further secure personal data on various products, such as the LG Watch Urbane LTE, the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. An additional security measure comes through Intel's True Key technology, which is a cross-platform application that uses personal identification factors, such as fingerprints, for logging into devices.

In the network infrastructure space, Intel's Krzanich said Huawei and Intel are partnering to deliver cloud solutions aimed at helping telecommunication service providers transform their data centers.

PUBLISHED MARCH 2, 2015

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