medfield phone reference design

Intel is finally getting ready to launch chips for phones and tablets that could compete with ARM-based processors in terms of performance and power consumption. The company has been working on its next-generation Atom design, code-named Medfield, for a few years. But now Intel is starting to demonstrate reference devices based on the platform.

The MIT Technology Review got to spend a little time with a Medfield-powered phone and a tablet, both running versions of the Google Android operating system.

The tablet prototype is running Android 4.0, has a larger screen than an iPad 2, but isn’t any thicker or heavier. The Android 2.3 phone reportedly feels like a modern smartphone in terms of overall power, and has a few stand-out features such as the ability to snap high-quality photos in a high-speed burst mode.

These reference designs are meant to show what the platform can do, and to guide manufactuers looking to build commercial products around Intel’s platform. We could theoretically start to see products based on these designs start to ship soon — assuming Intel can convince companies to product phones and tablets using its technology rather than chips from competitors such as Qualcomm, NVIDIA, or Texas Instruments.

via Hacker News

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8 replies on “Intel starts showing off Medfield-based smartphones, tablets”

  1. I feel sorry for these guys. I live by X86 servers but why oh why did they sell off the ARM group?

    PS – Looking KIRFy there. Real KIRFy.

    1. I keep seeing comments like yours on other sites about this phone.

      I just don’t see it. I see that they actually went out of their way to make sure certain design elements were altered to look different. When I look at this thing next to ip 3gs/4 it looks very different, both form the front and sides.

      but I guess apple believes they own the rectangle with rounded corner shape.

    2. It’s a reference design. Doesn’t really matter other than how small the device can get (ie. bezel size and thinness).

  2. What are the benefits to this vs. the current ARM solutions? Is wireless signal processing part of the SoC or is that on a separate chip? Is power consumption better? Performance sounds the same.

    1. There was some charts out a few weeks back that matched this chip up against the top ARM chips. All in all it fared well–when you look at all the test it was middle of the pack. That’s averaging out battery life vs the different performance benchmarks.

      The one thing I’ve heard that gives this an edge is performance, especially playback of HD video–blueray quality.

      However, is that enough? Will it run Android apps already in the market or will they need to be compiled for x86?

      It may very well be a dead man walking. Nonetheless, at least they are showing some signs of competing.

    2. It’s a long term plan for Intel.  Medfield is just the first real push into the mobile market but Intel’s offerings will improve significantly over the next few years.

      While they are also playing it smart and ensuring x86 support for Android and investing in technology that will make it easy to instantly switch between Android and say Windows 8, which will be coming out for everything from smart phones to regular computers.

      Intel is steadily closing the gap in energy efficiency between them and ARM.  Medfield going SoC for example, along with other improvements coming out down the line.

      Graphically, they’re also pushing both hardware acceleration for decoding but also for encoding.  So they may be able to leverage more features you would normally only see in a dedicated camera. 

      So they got a chance, but it’ll likely take Windows 8 and the next gen offering to show a clearer advantage before Intel makes any serious progress into getting into the mobile market.

  3. It will be interesting to see if this catches on and how the chips do in products.

Comments are closed.