Intel and Chinese chip maker Rockchip started working together on processors for low-cost phones, tablets, and other devices. In October we learned that the first chip to come out of that partnership would be the XMM6321 dual-core ARM Cortex-A5 processor with 3G capabilities.

Now Rockchip has announced global availability of the XMM6321 chip, which means that it could start showing up in entry-level Android phones, tablets, and phablets in the coming months.

xmm6321

Rockchip says a Dubai-based manufacturer placed an order for 100,000 units for use in a 7 inch phablet in October. Now that the XMM6321 system-on-a-chip is available in global markets including North America, we could see it in additional devices.

The XMM6321 chip is features an Intel/Infineon AG620 radio for 2G and 3G communications as well as 802.11b/g/n WiFi andBluetooth 4.0. Rockchip says it paves the way for future chips which will support 4G LTE.

The processor has a clock speed of 1 GHz, but it can be overclocked to run at 1.2 GHz, and just to make it clear that it’s aimed at entry-level devices with 3.5 inch to 7 inch screens, the chip supports display resolutions of 854 x 480 or 1024 x 600 pixels.

It can handle 1080p HD video decoding at 30 frames per second, but don’t expect to see phone or tablets with full HD screens using this chip.

Other features include support for 8MP rear and 3MP front cameras, 720P HD video encoding at 24 frames per second, and OpenGL ES 2.0.

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18 replies on “Rockchip and Intel launch their first chip together”

    1. Exaggerate much?

      Besides, this is for Cheap Chinese phones, tablets, etc!

      Intel is mainly only involved at this point for the R&D needed to develop a Integrated modem SoC, which the XMM6321 is just the first major step but is still primarily a Rockchip product at this point…

      Present Intel mobile phone SoCs don’t have a integrated modem and thus must use a multi-chip solution that makes it harder to minimize costs and size of the device…

      The XMM6321 is still a dual chip solution but Intel will take it the next step to produce their upcoming SoFIA SoCs and that will be more similar to their Moorefield and Merrifield SoCs, but with integrated modem, BT, and WiFi into a single SoC chip…

  1. Is Intel trying to look Chinese, and beat out competitor Broadcom in the Chinese market? Or is Intel’s fab just too costly for making low cost chips… or do Chinese regulators favor domestic fans over foreign ones?

    1. None of the above, Intel is simply trying to get into the integrated modem device market that presently only Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Samsung compete in…

      Problem for Intel is it takes a couple of years to develop a Integrated modem design from scratch and that time would only widen the market gap between them and the other companies Intel wants to compete with, especially as they have to start with lower end 3G modems before they can go to the more power consuming LTE/4G… Nvidia, for example, tried it but quickly found themselves so far behind that they quickly gave up and decided to focus on the tablet on up markets instead…

      So Intel took a shortcut and took an existing ARM based design they already had license rights to and partnered with Rockchip to Integrate Intel modem technology into it and the XMM6321 dual chip is the result of that partnership…

      Now that they’re done, Intel will still be partnered with Rockchip for handling local distribution and helping with local marketing, but they’re going to tweak the design with Intel architecture for the Intel SoFIA SoCs… Providing Intel with their first integrated modem SoCs and in less than half a year from now they’ll advance it to quad core LTE… While Intel also plans to see if they can get Rockchip to switch from ARM to Intel and supply them with pretty much everything they need for their product ranges… and that means transitioning completely to Intel FABs…

      How successful this endeavor will be still remains to be seen but it’s a serious step forward towards getting Intel to become a serious contender in the mobile market… Even if it takes another two years before they can really compete on the high end and not just entry to mid range…

      And yes, part of the reason for the partnership was to help Intel get a foot through the door into the Asian markets…

      1. Thanks for the obvious answer Aspergers poster child. My question is about do American companies need to partner with “local” ones to break into the China market? Does Intel avoid import taxes or additional regulation by getting Rockchip to fab the chips? On the surface it doesn’t look like Intel will make very much money from this deal… but what if Intel lays-out an entire SOC in the US, has Rockchip act as the middle-man with the Chinese fab, and gets around taxes/regulation? Maybe they can’t make money by fabbing the chip outside of China (specifically due to taxes and regulation), but this new way allows them to enter the China market in a cost-effect manner.
        Maybe other US companies are already doing this specifically.

        1. “Apsergers”, wow, you sure like to troll… unfortunately for you it’s pretty obvious you either have a reading comprehension problem or you simply shouldn’t be asking questions about things you can’t seem to grasps…

          Really, Intel is a FAB company and like I clearly stated already their long term plans is to supply all of Rockchip’s needs… which they couldn’t do if they continued to let Rockchip work with ARM FAB suppliers!

          Really, Intel doesn’t make end products… just the parts for one and thus they need to partner with OEMs and Rockchip is one of a couple obvious choices to get someone already in the Asian markets…

          The partnership is just more expansive than usual because Intel needed help fast tracking the integration of their modem and Rockchip already has experience working with ARM based designs, which is what Intel was working from!

          So now Intel got what they wanted and now are going to move on to trying to get Rockchip to switch completely to them to supply SoCs, etc.

          https://fudzilla.com/home/item/36283-intel-expects-rockchip-and-spreadtrum-to-go-x86

          1. Why do you respond to my posts when you comment on something completely unrelated to what I post? Use your own post dude! People who suffer from Aspergers are unable to consider the viewpoints of others… it’s a brain thing. I am being kind by not calling you something else. Please do not respond to my posts they are specifically not for you. Again, please do not respond to my posts. If you do, you are inviting insults. Do you know how many of your posts I have responded to… zero (and it will always be zero).

          2. Sorry, but I already pointed out that I dismissed what you were trying to state because it has nothing to do with what Intel and Rockchip are doing! Nor does it save Intel from any taxes, etc because they still have to import their products to that region!

            To be clear, you’re comment was simply not relevant to this article and doesn’t add anything to the hows and whys behind Intel’s choices!

            But if you really need an answer to your question then it’s an obvious no! American companies don’t need to partner with Chinese companies to break into Chinese markets, it’s just more convenient than going through all the time and money involved in setting up their own local presence in the region…

            Companies like Apple already sell their products in China and didn’t need to partner with anyone to do so!

            There’s very little stopping most companies from becoming international companies if they have the time and resources to do so… There are some local incentives/limitations… like China not wanting to use non-native software but Intel is a hardware supplier and that wouldn’t matter to them other than simply adding whatever driver support would be needed…

            Intel is also primarily a FAB producer and not a device maker… So their situation doesn’t apply to other non-FAB companies like Dell, etc… So the main reason they had to partner up was because otherwise they would have to become a OEM as well as a FAB… Much like MS expanded from being a software only company to one that also makes game consoles and Surface tablets…

            So don’t confuse what Intel is doing with anything that would be required of a regular OEM to get into the Asian markets!

            Does that make it perfectly clear yet?

            Besides, any such partnership means a sharing of profits and costs and that negates most of the benefit you’re trying to suggest they could get… Local company may avoid tariffs but have to take on the burden of having all the FAB and manufacturing work done in country instead of sourcing it out to cheaper mass producers… Especially when local FABs sometimes can’t meet demand…

            Many big company OEMs have already taken to source parts from multiple suppliers to meet their demand…

            Along with the lack of full control that being in a partnership requires… and such deals only help slightly with the local costs but would still inhibit any expansion to any nearby countries that have their own VATs, etc…

            Besides, even if there was a loophole they could exploit… it wouldn’t take long before they close it because it would give them an unfair advantage over the competition… and such things do eventually catch up with at least big companies…

            Both US and China specifically have laws already on the books that prohibit such tactics, especially from any dealings with each other… It’s mainly smaller nations that are more vulnerable to such exploits… and China isn’t the only place to find cheap labor either…

          3. Let’s all help CyberGusa and donate to autism awareness. Aspergers can one day be cured.

          4. I don’t like to wade into the muddy waters of comment moderation — but there’s no need for name calling here. Chill or I’ll close comments on this thread.

          5. I really like you site Brad, but that other user is trolling my posts. I have asked him to not to reply to my posts (he can post whatever he wants in his own post). I work for Intel doing circuit design, and my comment in this thread is that foreign (to China) low cost socs have effectively been priced out of the market in China by import taxes. If US companies want to sell low cost socs in China they have to partner with a Chinese company. Is there a way to ban the other user from replying to my posts?

          6. Nope… But like I said, I could always close the thread.

            The point is… Y’all are free to disagree. I just don’t want to see name calling or other language that could be insensitive to certain groups. Cybergusa has been a long time commenter here and on many other sites, and while he doesn’t have Aspbergers, it’s an actual condition that many people live with, not an insult to be thrown at people.

          7. My son was diagnosed with borderline Aspergers, that is why I know so much about it. The main symptom is an inability to focus on stimulus from other people… they just can’t see other’s points of view. CyberGusa keeps on responding to my posts, and he is not smart enough to just respect that and avoid confrontation. I understand that you need to keep the loyalty of your long-term readers, but comments from professions in the specific area that you blogging about adds real value to your site. A comment from you to CyberGusa about not replying to my posts would keep me as a long-term reader.

          8. Sorry if you feel I’m bothering you but I’m really only trying to help you and contrary to your belief I have actually considered your point of view but your supposition is based on a idea that I point out to you incorrectly assumes there are no other options for Intel…

            Yes, China makes it very hard to import and compete with local companies, even associating the success of their industry as a matter of vital national priority, but Intel is one of those companies that don’t really need to import…

            Intel has done this previously when they established a 65nm FAB in China back in 2010, along with multiple assembly/test facilities as well… to address the very concerns you are trying to cover but without the need to partner with a local FAB company…

            It’s mainly politics and needing to appease the present China government climate that makes it simply easier to make deals with local companies instead…

            This was pointed out in that link I posted in one of my previous posts… specifically, the part about Intel having announced its plans to invest $1.5 billion in Chinese-government affiliated chipmakers Spredtrum and RDA Microelectronics and essentially purchasing what they need to produce locally instead of either upgrading their existing FAB facility or building a new one… but this was done to help avoid angering the China government more than anything else…

            Intel is also watching its budget, having already cancelled some new FABs they had originally planned to build and their existing production capacity is still significantly under utilized until they can get a much larger share of the mobile market… limiting the incentive for Intel to presently go all out with a new facility just to further progress into the China markets…

            So I’m pointing out to you that it’s more a matter of convenience and efficiency rather than an outright need to partner with the local companies…

            The main thing Intel has to do is simply establish the FAB locally, regardless of whether it’s fully in their name of ownership or shared, and that’s pretty much what they seem to be doing…

            You can try spinning it to make it seem that Intel is trying to “look Chinese” as you put it but that IMO is over simplifying it and down playing too much all the other factors involved in the decision and long term plans…

            While Intel has announced that they will start phasing out the subsidies next year… Over the next 2-3 years they have stated they plan to convince Rockchip and other partners to switch over from ARM to Intel’s x86 product ecosystem… and that goes beyond simply partnering with the local companies to Intel actually having a presence there locally and providing not only the FAB but support behind it with reference designs, customization options, database for sourcing 3rd party parts that will just work without any additional work needed on the OEM’s part, etc.

          9. Understood (from your silence). I was hoping you would be the next Anand Lal Shimpi, but it looks like you are on-par with Ryan Smith (he writes for fanboys).

          10. As I explained… my policy with comment moderation tends to be pretty hands-off. I just delve in when things start to get offensive or turn to name calling.

            Feel free to read into that anything you like.

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