Tag Archive | "Z6XX"

While We Wait for Intel’s Moorestown – Info on GPU and HD Video Support

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Moorestown is late. There’s no way that Intel can spin it otherwise because I’ve asked officials many times and they always promised ‘products’ in 2010. All we’re hearing about is Oaktrail and the reason for that might be because there isn’t an operating system for Moorestown yet. Moblin, MeeGo and Android are all listed as supported operating systems but none of those builds are completely ready for X86 prime-time yet. It looks like Moorestown is sitting in the wings for the time being and that’s very disappointing.

While we wait, let’s remind ourselves of some of the platform characteristics.

Z6xx

Moorestown is  a mobile-focused platform that uses an Intel Z6xx CPU where the memory bus, display controller and graphics (3D and video) are on the main die – Lincroft is the codename of the CPU. There’s no BIOS, no ACPI and no real PCI bus on the controller chip (Langwell) and therefore no Windows 7 support. The platform is designed to work with a special power control chip called Brierstown which provides the ‘power island’ support which will be critical in improving battery life and, for the first time, allowing an always-on idle mode that can be used for smartphones. It also integrates tightly with the Intel wireless module called Evans Peak.

Oaktrail is similar (but includes components to allow it to support Windows) as is Tunnel Creek. Tunnel Creek (E6xx CPUs) is intended for embedded designs but contains the same graphics core as Moorestown and Oaktrail. With 2x the 3D performance of the older Menlow platform  and a 20Mbps-capable hardware video decoder and 720p encoder, all based on PowerVR technology, it’s interesting to think about performance in terms of a handheld device.

Have a read at the Intel Embedded site here.

Aava Mobile Wants to Make x86 Android Development Easy

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One of the things that makes Android so attractive to consumers is the 60,000+ applications in the market. Its been a pivotal point for the Android eco-systems rapid development and its important for Android on Intel that developers can get their applications running on the x86 architecture.

So it was interesting to receive word that during Computex 2010 Aava Mobile announced Virta Android, a hardware-enhanced software developer kit for Android developers wishing to write applications for smartphones and tablets running the newest Intel Atom Z6xx Series processors.

koski_f2_2_intelThe Virta Android is x86 smartphone with a tailored Android SDK ported to the Atom processor. It comes loaded with a capacitive touch screen accelerometer, GPS, haptic feedback, and video/still camera, modem, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and all connectivity for complete platform and application testing.

It has been developed by Aava Mobile in cooperation with Intel to accelerate development for Android on the x86 platform and is slated to ship in Q3 of this year.

More information can be found at Aava’s website www.aavamobile.com/ and check out JKKmobiles video from Computex 2010;

Moorestown Platform to Include GMA600 Graphics.

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Completing the modular picture of the Moorestown platform for us today is the news about the GPU/video processing engine that will be used. It’s been a long time coming.

Intel GMA600 Graphics – Integrated power-optimizes 2-D/3-D graphics with up to 400Mhz graphics core clock frequency, support for OpenGL ES2.0, Open GL 2.1 and Open VG 1.1 and hardware-accelerated HD video decode (MPEG4 part 2, H.264, WMV and VC1) and encode (MPEG4 part 2, H.264) Supports internal display up to 1366×768 LVDS or 1024×600 MIPI

The details are given in the Moorestown fact-sheet that was published today (PDF) as part of the Moorestown official launch.

In general I think we can safely say that this is a GMA500 with 2Xclock (400Mhz compared to 200Mhz on Menlow) and video encode.

Completing the modular picture of the Moorestown platform for us today is the news about the GPU/video processing engine that will be used. It’s been a long time coming.

Intel-Android News Changes the Dynamics

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Although we’ve been hearing bits and pieces about Android on Intel’s Moorestown platform over the last few months we’ve never really had it in writing from Intel. Today we have.

Almost hidden in the latter part of a Fact-Sheet (PDF)on the Moorestown / Z6xx launch today, Intel has this to say.

“As a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), Intel has worked with Google over the past few years and is providing support for the Android platform at launch. The performance characteristics of the Intel Atom processor Z6xx Series are reflected across Android implementations making it a compelling platform for a range of handheld devices.”

Support for Moblin/MeeGo is also mentioned. Windows isn’t.

This changes the game somewhat in my opinion.

Firstly, Intel now has a non-Windows platform. Politically, that’s huge. This is probably the first Intel computing platform since Windows launched, that doesn’t support Windows!

Secondly, Intel have just pulled in support for one of the most interesting and developed ‘smart’ computing platforms there is. There’s no longer any need to convince customers that MeeGo is going to be great because the trust will already be there. What a set of brands – Intel, Google, Android. You wonder what the long-term aim is for MeeGo now. How long will they continue with MeeGo if Android on Intel becomes successful.

Moorestown and Android could really be a killer combination and it already scales to netbook-like performance to enable some very interesting tablet, MID and ‘smart’ book devices. 1M iPads proves that this new market is ripe.

This could also explain why Google haven’t yet opened the marketplace for tablets and other large-format handheld devices.

Here’s a video we took of Android running on Moorestown recently.

Intel press release.

Intel Unveils Atom Z6XX Smartphone Platform

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Intel have just released an news about their smartphone and tablet platform previously known as Moorestown. The platform is a follow-on from the MID-focused platform, Menlow and includes power saving and power-boosting features that could see service in some very high-end smart devices. The processing unit is known as the Z6XX (assume there will be variants) and the control unit is known as MP20.

I’ve done some analysis of the news over at UMPCPortal but here’s a summary.

Collectively these new chips deliver significantly lower power including >50x reduction in idle power, >20x reduction in audio power, and 2-3x reductions across browsing and video scenarios – all at the platform level when compared to Intel’s previous-generation product1. These power savings translate into >10 days of standby, up to 2 days of audio playback and 4-5 hours of browsing and video battery life. When combined with 1.5-3x higher compute performance, 2-4x richer graphics, >4x higher JavaScript performance, and support for full HD 1080p high-profile video decoding and 720p HD video recording, these low-power innovations bring a rich, PC-like visual experience to powerful handheld computers.

So you’ve got some new power-saving technology there that should allow devices to be built around a standard 1500mah battery but that’s not all.

These power management capabilities, when combined with Intel® Burst Performance Technology for high-performance on demand, and Intel’s Bus Turbo Mode for high-bandwidth on demand, help to deliver industry leading performance and power efficiency across a range of handheld devices.

These ‘turbo’ features will take the platform to 1.5Ghz and there’ll even be a version that will boost to 1.9Ghz. That’s more than a netbook! So if you add the low-power idle features with the turbo modes you’ve got a platform that spans a wide range of uses. With MeeGo being developed alongside Moorestown and a wave of interest in ‘smart’ devices, Intel have timed it well.

The press release even mentions Android. We saw it back in Feb but it looks like it’s become a core part of the Moorestown strategy now.

Here’s the video of Android running on a Moorestown smartphone from MWC in Feb.

Additional info: What Moorestown Means for Consumers.

We’re with Intel at Computex next month (I’ve been invited to Computex through the Intel Insider program) where I’m sure we’ll hear about launch dates, devices and a whole lot more. Expect videos and hands-on!

Z6XX Press Kit

Intel’s Smartphone Platform and Atom Z6XX Unveiled with 1.5Ghz, Android and MeeGo Capability. Analysis.

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In a press-release from Intel today they have announced more details on what we know as Moorestown; the low-power computing platform that should take Intel to the historical moment of enabling an X86 mobile phone. The two-component platform will implement the Z6XX processing unit (was Lincroft) containing Atom-based CPU, GPU, 1080p video decoders and 720p encoder, and the MP20 ‘Platform Control Hub’ (was Langwell) alongside a power control module that has previously been referred to as Briertown.


Moorestown. As seen at IDF 2009.

Our analysis of Moorestown can be found here.

Details in the press release highlight much of what we have gleaned before but there are two very interesting bits of additional info. First the summary…

Collectively these new chips deliver significantly lower power including >50x reduction in idle power, >20x reduction in audio power, and 2-3x reductions across browsing and video scenarios – all at the platform level when compared to Intel’s previous-generation product1. These power savings translate into >10 days of standby, up to 2 days of audio playback and 4-5 hours of browsing and video battery life. When combined with 1.5-3x higher compute performance, 2-4x richer graphics, >4x higher JavaScript performance, and support for full HD 1080p high-profile video decoding and 720p HD video recording, these low-power innovations bring a rich, PC-like visual experience to powerful handheld computers.

In effect you’ve got a platform that halves the power profile of the previous generation platform while introducing new features that enable lower power states and power control over individual CPU sub-modules know as power islands. That will bring the average platform utilization down to 1W levels (in-use) which, if you’ve done any MID-style activities on a smartphone lately, means it’s in the same ballpark as modern smartphones. Intel’s ‘4-5 hours’ browsing figure is based on using a 5.5wh battery (1500mah single-cell) with all the usual power-hungry components like screens and radios.It’s unlikely to beat the battery life on the best smartphones but there’s another twist here. Turbo!

These power management capabilities, when combined with Intel® Burst Performance Technology for high-performance on demand, and Intel’s Bus Turbo Mode for high-bandwidth on demand, help to deliver industry leading performance and power efficiency across a range of handheld devices.

So if you add the low-power idle features with the turbo modes you’ve got a platform that spans a wide range of uses. The smartphone version of the Z6 is going to be able burst to 1.5Ghz [We've heard that it nominally runs at 600Mhz] and there will be a higher-power version that will burst to 1.9Ghz and could make a sweet sweet MID, or ‘smart’ computing platform.

All this new technology is going to need a new operating system and that’s what Moblin was for. Intel built Moorestown and Moblin in parallel so that they would dovetail together. Don’t expect Windows to be running on these platforms.

Of course, Moblin is migrating into MeeGo (where it will support two competing architectures; X86 and ARM) but there’s another OS mentioned here. Android.

Why would Intel mention Android and not Windows? Probably because they are working with Google on a X86 version of Android that would slot in well here. Remember, Intel are members of the OHA, the organisation that brought you Android. There’s been no formal announcement on Android yet but Intel are not exactly trying to keep it a secret. How that will sit with MeeGo is anyone’s guess but it does give Intel an important second-string to their bow.

Update from the fact-sheet: “Intel has worked with Google over the past few years and is providing support for the Android platform at launch”
Fact-Sheet (PDF)

Here’s a video of Android running on a Moorestown smartphone from MWC in Feb.

Additional info: What Moorestown Means for Consumers.

One last thing to mention is that Intel are now happy to talk about tablets in their PR again. It seems that the old days of hopeless ‘tweener’ UMPCs are behind us now! Personally I think there’s more potential in social netbook-style devices than tablets but that’s another story.

We’re meeting Intel at Computex next month (as an Intel Insider I’ve been invited to Computex) where I’m sure we’ll hear about launch dates, devices and a whole lot more so stay tuned. The only problem is, does all this belong on UMPCPortal, the productivity-focused mobile devices website, or Carrypad, our sister website devoted to consumer internet devices? Moorestown has the potential of spanning both and that’s exactly the big story here.

Update: I’ve posted some more analysis of the Operating system options here.

Z6XX Press Kit
Press release.

Lots more Moorestown reading under our ‘Moorestown’ tag.

Source: Carrypad



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