Intel’s Moorestown Platform. From Smartphone Through Smartbook and Beyond.

Posted on 08 June 2009 by



orig_Slide12_1 I wrote an update on Moorestown last week over at MIDMoves.com but I want to expand on that here on UMPCPortal today because I really think that the new information we have now is extremely significant for the core audience here. Moorestown is the first computing platform that covers my definition of ultra mobile computing. From high-end smartphones, through targeted, Ultra Mobile ‘desktops’ , super-mobile laptops and the whole range of internet-connected opportunities that exist in the mobile internet space.

For those that are new to Intel’s low power ultra mobile products, Moorestown is the 2nd generation computing platform (not a CPU) that follows ‘Menlow’, the product you find in many MIDs and a number of netbooks. Moorestown is very small (about half the size of a credit card) and very power efficient. It uses an Atom CPU core and dedicated 3D and video hardware.

Firstly, let me summarise what we learnt about Moorestown from Intel last week.

  • 50x less platform power usage in idle mode. In real world terms, multi-day idle.
  • Intel states that Moorestown will enable far better smartbooks than on ARM-based products.
  • Moblin V2 supports Moorestown but not Menlow. Menlow is seen as a UMPC (Windows OS) platform now. [UMPCs are back on the scene!]
  • Moorestown can include voice-capable (GSM) software and hardware.
  • Moblin V2 controls the Moorestown platform like no other operating system will be able to.
  • The Atom core has been further refined for efficiency. (The core Atom architecture stays the same)
  • Windows products will run on a ‘version’ of Moorestown but Menlow is still the focus for Windows products through 2009 and 2010
  • Running Windows on (the Windows-compatible) version of Moorestown will not bring your the power efficiencies that Moblin will.
  • All-day battery life is here.
  • Moorestown supports 720p video recording.
  • Moorestown supports 1080p playback.
  • It might come earlier than expected (based on the advanced-stage products that were demonstrated, end of 2009 seems highly likely.)
  • We have no idea about versions, SKU’s or CPU clock-rates.

ringoffie

My interpretation of what I saw is that Intel is now in all of the ‘full internet experience’ (FIE) markets with Moorestown. Smartphone, superphone, smartbook, netbook, mid, carpc, ebook readers, umpc, gaming, pnd and pmp. It matches the ring of FIE (image above)

Let me highlight three of the new segments.

Smartphone

Expect Moorestown-based devices to be as small as a smartphone and to be able to run, on a smartphone sized battery, for over 24 hours. Intel are telling us that devices will idle with 50x less power drain than today’s Intel Mobile Internet Devices. The worst MID I ever tested ticked-over for about 1 hour on the juice of a smartphone-sized battery. Intel says that this will increase to 50 hours. The best-case scenario, based on testing I’ve done on the current best-of-Intel is 3-times that figure. 3-days active standby.

Smartbook

Moorestown scales. It sleeps with one eye open but when it wakes up it’s capable of Internet browsing speeds, accuracy and richness that you will have never seen on an ARM-based device. I’m expecting high-end versions of Moorestown to bring sub 10-second average page loads to every web page on the Internet. The current best smartphones take twice as long as that and the next-gen may only shave 50% off that. Moblin goes head-to-head with Android and Maemo here and could even challenge Windows Mobile products.

Mobile Creativity / Microblogging / Social networking

I really wish Intel had highlighted HD video  recording as it’s an important benchmark figure these days. Smartphone manufacturers are building these facilities into their devices and HD video is a huge growth area on the Internet. Moorestown enables 720p video recording. Not only that but the software layer has been designed with that in mind too. GPS-enabled applications with social-networking capabilities are baked into the software making it easy to make compelling mobile applications. Moorestown should enable you to get more creative, quicker. [continued on next page...]

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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    New article: Intel’s Moorestown Platform. From Smartphone Through Smartbook and Beyond. http://cli.gs/Q9rhV7

  2. Marc says:

    All sounds great, although they would claim they are better than Arm….

    I carry various forms of extra power for my iPhone when I travel to ensure I’m never short.

    Hopefully that should change this week and I’ll see how much my first business with my new MID effects my smartphone battery life (meaning will I use it instead of the instant convenience of my phone?).

  3. DavidC1 says:

    ARM is really not that far away power-wise compared to x86. At the moment they have the advantage because they have already invested in the ecosystem and the platform for lowering power consumption. SoCs are one of them. x86 has yet to get there. The largest contributors will be process technology differences and target performance.

    That said, the Moorestown presentation compared a 600MHz Lincroft CPU and a ~1GHz level Silverthorne CPU for power consumption purposes. There was another presentation earlier that said 30% better experience/performance compared to Menlow.

    I think the thing to take here is the base SKUs won’t be lowering power that much(compare Atom Z530 to A110 for example), but it will still be lower, and it’ll have a per-clock advantage thanks to the integrated memory controller. On another end of the scale, we’ll have probably 600MHz Lincroft CPUs that perform similar to Z500 but consume significantly less power.

  4. Kola says:

    Thanks for review, Chippy. It was interesting. There’s two questions – the price of a unit compared to ARM solutions and the meaning of x86 support under the non-Windows OS.

    Chippy Reply:

    The price is likely to be higher to start with simply because smartphones on Moorestown will be premium devices. Slightly bigger. Targeted at early adopters. Business. etc.

    As for your second question, I don’t really understand it. X86 support for non windows means it will only support Moblin OS first and then Windows later. Moblin is high highly tailored to get the best out of the initial Moorestown platform.

    I guess they are forced to make a WIndows-capable version so that they don’t face anti-competitive claims.

    Kola Reply:

    As I understand it’s already Windows capable in term of working, but at least standard Windows ACPI driver won’t distribute power saving features which are the main benefits. If Intel only needs to make new ACPI driver than it’s ok, but Windows have some persistent background activity caused by different programs and services which also can be an obstacle to reach normal power saving. Actually I’m not a specialist in this so maybe I’m wrong…