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Intel Demos 'Moorestown' For iPhone-Like Devices

The chip product represents a major thrust by Intel into the market for handheld computers for accessing the Web, checking e-mail, and making phone calls.
Intel on Monday demonstrated for the first time a working "Moorestown" platform for smartphones and other mobile Internet devices, or MIDs, and released a few more details on the processor technology scheduled for release in the latter half of 2009 or in 2010.

Anand Chandrasekher, senior VP and general manager of Intel's Ultra Mobility Group, showed a video of an "iPhone-esque form factor device" running on Moorestown, Intel said. The video, shown at the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei, Taiwan, demonstrated the use of the platform for videoconferencing, map functions, and other tasks.

Chandrasekher also gave a few more details about Moorestown, which represents a major thrust by Intel into the market for handheld devices for accessing the Web, checking e-mail, and making phone calls. The device category has been gaining attention with Apple's success with the iPhone.

Moorestown, codename for the platform, comprises a system on chip, code-named Lincroft, which integrates a 45-nanometer Atom processor, a graphics processor, memory controller, and video encoder/decoder. In addition, the platform includes an input/output hub code-named Langwell, which supports a range of I/O ports to connect wireless, storage, and display components. Chandrasekher claims Moorestown at idle uses one-tenth the energy of first-generation mobile Internet devices based on Atom.

Key to whether consumers will embrace MIDs is the quality of the wireless connections used in tapping the Internet. While Intel is a leading supporter of WiMax, the company isn't taking any chances. Moorestown also will support wireless carriers' 3G data networks, as well as Wi-Fi.

Chandrasekher also announced collaboration with Ericsson in building an HSPA module for Moorestown. Wireless technology vendor Option also is building HSPA modules for the platform. HSPA, or High-Speed Packet Access, is a collection of mobile telephony protocols for moving data over a cellular network.

WiMax is wireless broadband similar to Wi-Fi, but with far more range and bandwidth. The technology is just starting in the United States, and Intel's work with HSPA vendors appears to be recognition that WiMax will take some time to provide enough coverage to satisfy the needs of MID users.

Intel partner Sprint Nextel last month debuted its WiMax service in the United States with the launch of the long-delayed Xohm mobile broadband in Baltimore. The carrier plans to roll out WiMax gradually, with Washington; Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth; Providence, R.I.; and Philadelphia slated to be among the early deployments.

In addition to discussing Moorestown, Intel executives at IDF said the first desktops powered by the Core i7 processor, formerly code-named Nehalem, would launch next month. These high-end desktops would be aimed at gamers and people who use content-creation applications, said Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel's Server Platforms Group.

For businesses, Intel plans to release Core i7 processors with a new version of vPro management technology next year. The upcoming vPro technology is code-named Piketown for desktops and Calpella for notebooks.

The Core i7 microarchitecture eventually will replace Intel's current Core technology. Intel plans to go into production in the second half of next year with server, desktop, and mobile processors based on the new architecture.