Intel’s developer forum for China kicked of today in Shenzen. We weren’t able to attend but we’ve been following it closely. Much of the news related to mobile and tablet PCs is to be found in the forum session PDFs and we’ve already seen how Intel are launching a back-to-school initiative based around new Celeron and Pentium Baytrail-M CPUs and have published details of USB3.1.
Most of the 35 minutes keynote is focused around the ecosystem in China but it includes info on the 40 million tablet target, news about Realsense (Lenovo S440 with integrated Realsense demonstrated,) Edison (now on Atom) and SoFIA, the integrated 3G/Atom platform for Android (and possibly Windows) tablets and phones.
If you speak to enough people about Windows tablets at tradeshows certain keywords keep cropping up and if you link those ‘tips’ with a bit of research you come up with some potentially interesting background. In this case we’ve got some information about a Baytrail CR and Baytrail DB variant. The keywords that accompany this news on this Baytrail variant are ‘Dual-OS’ and ‘Upgrade.’
Back in December there was a event held in China that highlighted Intel’s work in Android and Windows tablets and an interesting slide was shown…
Baytrail-CR is shown for Mid 2014 in the image above but the DB variant is shown as the first Baytrail variant so it could actually be the current range. Is this just a new range of 64-bit SKUs (E.g Z3795 on the new 64-bit Elitepad 1000), some performance boosts through improved production processes or is this the DualOS drive? What’s certain is that Intel are indeed working on Dual-OS for Android and Windows tablets and that a Baytrail upgrade is coming.
We’ll try and track down exactly what’s going on here and bring you more detail soon. In the meantime, here are some other Baytrail-T devices spotted at CeBIT
Intel had a great keynote at CES2014 yesterday and while a lot of it was outside the scope of reporting here, the Quark-based Edison PC is worth mentioning. Picture first…
That’s it! An SD-card sized PC / development board. It’s running a 400Mhz dual-core Quark CPU built on a 22nm process. There’s a WiFi and Bluetooth LE module, memory, storage and interfaces. It may not have a video controller but it runs Linux and the idea is that it has endless possibilities at the newer edges of the Internet. Intel have developed it alongside a $1.3 million competition to stimulate the wearable and internet-of-things segment. It’s for makers!
Intel® Edison is a new Quark technology-based computer housed in an SD card form factor with built-in wireless. The product-ready, general purpose compute platform is well-suited to enable rapid innovation and product development by a range of inventors, entrepreneurs and consumer product designers when available this summer.
Intel Edison is based on 22nm Intel Quark technology for ultra-small and low power-sensitive, Internet of Things edge devices, smart consumer products and wearable computing. The product features an Intel processor and microcontroller core. The programmable microcontroller helps manage I/Os and other baseline functions, while the x86 compatible processor core brings Linux support and enables multiple operating systems to run sophisticated high-level user applications. The small compute package brings connectivity with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE*, and has LPDDR2* and NAND flash storage as well as a wide array of flexible and expandable I/O capabilities.
Intel Edison also brings the ease of Intel technology development with support for Linux and open source community software tools. The product will be compatible with accessible developer tools used by the maker community. (Source: Intel PDF)
The key here is that it’s small and very low power. Wireless power is something Intel are looking into under the umbrella of their internet-of-things work. Ambient energy is also a related topic and for screens, how about a WiFi or BT LE display matrix?
Got ideas already? More surveillance? How about some games? Beach-towel sun-monitor? Look around you and just think what you’d do with an Edison embedded in your picture frame, shoe, partners key-fob!
Just minutes ago at the CES keynote, Intel announced, briefly, that they have a dual-OS platform ready. Windows and Android on one device.
The live demo worked!
We know little right now apart from the fact that the Android part will include additional security. In an on-stage demo the switch time was near-instant. Have Intel developed a better solution than ASUS, Insyde? Does it have a true dual-virtual container? The exciting thing is that Intel have the best access to hardware drivers so getting all the hardware mapped through to both operating systems could be easier.
Today at IDF 2013 in San Francisco, Intel is announcing it’s next-generation of low-power Atom, Pentium, and Celeron processors, codenamed ‘Bay Trail’. Intel says that Bay Trail processors will be suitable for tablets, laptops, AIO desktops, and “sleek mobile devices.”
It looks like Pentium and Celeron branding will be used on Atom chips when Baytrail launches. And why not? As Haswell/Core reaches down into sub 10W territory, where Netbooks used to operate, and Baytrail reaches up into power bands above where Atom Netbooks were, there’s a big overlap. Intel will slap the Pentium and Celeron brands on Atom products. It could be an attempt to re-brand Atom for Windows and Android based devices.
Take another look though, ignore some of the news articles riding on the back of the headline PR and you’ll see something interesting. Firstly there’s no obvious consideration of PC evolution into the tablet market. Secondly, there’s a huge opportunity opening up in the 8-13â€ segment. As tablet users start to prefer those smaller, cheaper tablet devices, more value and capability is needed in the larger screen segment.
CES 2013 has kicked off and this year I’m in the studio reporting across the handheld and Ultrabook PC space. For UMPCPortal that means ‘Clovertrail’ and ‘Bay Trail’, the latter being important as it’s the first time the Atom platform will get a new architecture.
Clovertrail has brought the handheld PC space alive again and we’ve reported a number of times on Clovertrail-based products over the last three months. As the only PC platform that’s Connected Standby capable it’s a huge step forward and although the current designs use at least 10-inch displays there’s potential here for 8.9-inch and even 7-inch display Clovertrail devices.
During CES we’ll be looking for information on the Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx, Fujitsu Arrows QH55J, Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet2, Dell Latitude 10 and the HP Envy 2. Naturally we’re looking out for new devices based on Clovertrail too. We’ll bring you the news as we find it.
Moving on to Bay Trail then, it’s the next generation, 22nm-based Atom architecture and it’s a big change. Leaked roadmaps mention a 2014 availability (1st Quarter) so don’t get too excited just yet but some of the details are very interesting.Â You’ll see a higher TDP but don’t worry because there’s a lot more on-board here including a variant of Intel’s graphics unit. A move away from PowerVR means better control over drivers and hope for Linux fans!
The SoC is known as Valleyview-T (where Clovertrail used a Cloverview SoC) and it will offer up to 4 cores. Display support will be improved above 1920×1080 and the graphics could be much more powerful. We expect huge improvements in media encoding and decoding efficiency and speed. Storage will still be eMMC based but USB3.0 support will be added.
With Intel’s Haswell platform reaching down into 8W TDP space and Bay Trail reaching up where Pentiums and Celeron processors were operating a few years ago there’s little space left for these brands. Haswell will also offer Connected Standby features so there’s a possibility that there will be a crossover of platforms in the 10-12.5-inch space with ‘Pro’ tablets offering true desktop capability and the consumer tablets focusing on style, weight, value and mobility.
Intel’s press conference is happening later today so I’ll be analyzing it for answers to the above questions.
Early reviews of CloverTrail devices are positive and that’s making investors and analysts sit up and take note. Deutsche Bank have just issued a note to their customers saying some very positive things about the platform and notes that it is competitive against ARM-based solutions.
Back at IDF September, Intel and Google finally announced that they’d be working together to get Android up and running on x86 devices. While there were a number of Android-running x86 tablets and a smartphone prototype or two floating around IDF, it wasn’t immediately apparent what the major advantage of Android 0n x86 devices would be for your everyday consumer. In fact, it wasn’t even apparent exactly why any of the existing AndroidÂ manufacturesÂ would want to create x86 Android devices, given that up until now, pretty much all of their R&D has been focused on ARM devices. However, Intel may actually be perfectly positioned to be able to stimulate the growth of an upcoming segment of Android device — one which truly converges mobile and desktop functionality into one device. Chippy has coined such hybrid functionality: ‘High Dynamic Range Computing’ (HDRC), and the time might just be right for Intel to ignite this segment and find their own place in the Android market.
Any consumer-available Android device that you can get your hands on today uses ARM architecture which is fundamentallyÂ incompatibleÂ with the x86 architecture that Intel products are based on. Android was originally built to run exclusively on ARM (though being open-source, some community projects were able to do some porting to x86). It wasn’t until several years after Android was on the scene that Intel and Google finally got together to work on full hardware-level Android on x86 support. That work is still ongoing. We’ve had our hands on Android devices running with Intel’s x86 architecture, but it is clear that there is still much optimization to be done. Once everything is complete though, won’t a device running Android on ARM be, for the user,Â indistinguishableÂ from a device running Android on Intel’s x86?
If ARM has battery life, Intel has power. It’s an interestingÂ dichotomy — we’ve watched as ARM-based devices have continuously scaled up to meet performance demands as the Android device market has grown. Intel has the opposite problem; they’ve got power, but have been constantly trying to scale it down to work with mobile at the tablet/smartphone level. Intel’s Atom series is a notable effort in the last several years to scale things back far enough that users could get reasonable performance and reasonable battery life out of a netbook. Once Intel can achieve the same thing at the smartphone and tablet level (and they’ve been working on this for years), they’ve got the expertise to push the processing end of things far beyond what we currently see from ARM — not to mention that the same x86 architecture that will be found in Intel-based phones and tablets is capable of booting full-fledged desktop operating systems.
If Intel plays their cards right, they could do very well in the Android market by stimulating the HDRC segment. HDRC isn’t really a mainstream thing at this point — most people have their desktop computer and they’ve got a smartphone and maybe a tablet. They view these two devices as fundamentally different. The promise of HDRC is creating a device that scales so well that it can converge these two categories of devices, which are viewed as different, into a single unit. This is a serious challenge because essentially it asks for a single device that is instant-on and has phone-like (all day) battery life, but, when plugged in, can be as powerful as one would expect from a laptop or desktop. Intel has the expertise for the high-end of the HDRC spectrum, we see this daily from the desktop computers that we work on. If they can combine this with phone/tablet-like low-power functionality, they could blow ARM out of the water and define the HDRC space that mobile technology has been steadily moving toward for the last 5 years.
At a Intel press event, still going on as I write, Intel has just announced that Z2580 that we tipped earlier today. It’s a dual-core version of the current Intel smartphone platform which is capable of running Android x86 and other x86 software.
â€¦the Atomâ„¢ Z2580 processor that doubles the performance of the Atom processor Z2460, and features an advanced multimode LTE/3G/2G solution. Intel will sample the Z2580 in the second half of the year with customer products scheduled in the first half of 2013.
In addition to the Z2500 series, there’s now a new Z2000 series at 1Ghz aimed at a lower-cost segment.
Addressing the growing handset opportunity in emerging markets where consumers look for more value at lower prices, Intel disclosed plans for the IntelÂ® Atomâ„¢ processor Z2000.
The Z2000 is aimed squarely at the value smartphone market segment, which industry sources predict could reach up to 500 million units by 20151. The platform includes a 1.0 GHz Atom CPU offering great graphics and video performance, and the ability to access the Web and play Google Android* games. It also supports the IntelÂ® XMM 6265 3G HSPA+ modem with Dual-SIM 2G/3G, offering flexibility on data/voice calling plans to save on costs. Intel will sample the Z2000 in mid-2012 with customer products scheduled by early 2013.
Also announced was news that Medfield will now be enabled to 2Ghz.
â€œExtending the leading performance and energy efficiency of the Intelâ„¢ AtomÂ® processor Z2460, formerly codenamed â€œMedfield,â€ Intel announced that the platform will now support speeds up to 2GHz.â€
More details if we get them in the press conference that continuesâ€¦..