Intel Smart SoC — The Move to Purpose-Built Chips

What would you do with a billion Intel transistors nestled in our pocket?

If what they said today comes true, we might have a billion transistors efficiently running a system on a chip that puts high speed computer performance and wireless Internet inside many of the things we touch — from our mobile phones and computers to the navigation system in our car.

“The major forces that are shaping the design of silicon have to do with the need for connectivity to the Internet, computer power, and the progress of Moore’s Law,” Intel VP Gadi Singer said, referring to the maxim that chip performance can double every two years or so thanks to manufacturing improvements. That was what Dean Takahashi from Venture Beat wrote in one the first story released from today’s briefing in San Francisco.

Gadi was joined by Intel VP Doug Davis shared new plans for Intel Smart SoC — System on a Chip — and introduced eight brand new embedded chips under its Intel EP80579 Integrated Processor family for security, storage, communications, and industrial robotics. The overall SoC efforts are aimed at traditional computing businesses and several growth areas across Consumer Electronics (CE), Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and embedded markets.

We recorded today’s presentation and will post it on the Intel Pressroom Video/Audio library. I asked Gadi to give a brief summary of the new efforts announced today.

New Smart Chips for Embedded Computing

Each SoC for embedded computing is based on the Intel Pentium M processor, integrated memory controller hub, and a variety of integrated communications and embedded I/O controllers.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for these smart SoC solutions in the market today as the number of Internet-connected devices reaches into the billions, performance expectations rise and device sizes shrink,” said Doug Davis, vice president of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group and general manager, Embedded and Communications Group. “These products enable our customers to rethink their own innovation and system design around the many benefits of Intel architecture.”

Summary from Intel Smart SoC Presentation

Emerging category of smarter, purpose?built SoC Designs. New levels of performance, power efficiency and complexity vs. traditional SoCs

Intel’s Smart SoC strategy: Intel architecture,advanced process technology, high performance computing, low power, high complexity expertise & R&D investment

>15 projects underway; Future SoCs based on Intel®Atom™processor core; target growth areas

Perfectly timed with emerging need for persistently connected Internet devices

Introducing our first 8 new products; targeting a broad range of embedded, voice and security applications

SoC at IDF

With the Intel Developer Forum coming to San Francisco next month, here are some SoC codenames we’ll be watching:

first consumer electronics (CE) chip codenamed “Canmore” scheduled for later 2008, followed by the second-generation “Sodaville” in 2009

Intel’s second-generation embedded product line is scheduled to arrive in 2009

Intel’s next-generation platform for Mobile Internet Devices code-named “Moorestown” and featuring “Lincroft,” scheduled for release in 2009/2010.

Imagine One Billion People Each with a Billion Transistors

It wasn’t long ago that the wireless Internet was something you had to plug into your laptop. Now it’s just there inside, ready to grab on to the nearest Wi-Fi signal. Our mobile phones and even our kids’ computer game gizmos let us tap into the Internet more and from more places. There are even Internet-ready refrigerators! This is a big part of what’s driving us toward having one billion people on the mobile Internet. But there’s more.

Wireless Internet device are mounted inside highway rollin’ semi-trucks, and even built into trains and prototype eco-friendly cars. I can only think of a few places where I wouldn’t want the Internet, but I’ll keep that private!

As the one-billionth person connects to the Internet, she might first connect using her a mobile phone. She might even add a laptop, wireless music player, smart TV and even a second computer like a netbook.

When I see this and the way my kids almost naturally take to the Internet…I think: Moore’s Law to the rescue!

Sure it’s out there today, but tomorrow’s Internet will be faster. Growing at a quickened pace is our appetite for staying connected to our friends, must-see videos and capturing and sharing our experiences immediately then finding fun, food and entertainment with a click of a few Internet icons. That’s what I’d do if I had a billion transistors in my pocket.

5 Responses to Intel Smart SoC — The Move to Purpose-Built Chips

  1. Kari Aakre says:

    Thanks for the great post, Ken. Makes me feel like I was there with you guys. I can’t wait to see what kinds of new experiences we’ll get in the future if we combine the benefits of wireless broadband technology like WiMAX with the capabilities of these SoCs. Imagine the possibilities!