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Intel Atom-powered Cell Phones by 2011?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 12 comments

Intel’s Atom processor is the beating heart at the center of nearly every netbook on the market today. Now Intel says its working on bringing the Atom to handheld devices.

According to the Register, Sean Maloney, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, said that the Intel’s purchase of Wind River last week was part of the company’s effort to drive a low-power, full-fat PC architecture into non-PC environments. The Reg quotes Maloney as saying that as well as devices like MIDs and smartphones, the company was targeting the full-one handset market, something that would be easier if it can offer potential partners a complete package of software, hardware and a development package.

"We're not into handsets yet, but we're just moving into that, that'll be the next few years," Maloney said, adding that we can see handset-sized devices much sooner.

While the idea of an Atom processor in a smartphone seems like a dream come true (imagine what your phone could do with that kind of power), one of the bigger things we’d be worried about is the drain on battery. That said, this whole thing is still a few years off, so they’ll have ample time to work on it.

Check out the full story on the Reg.

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  • 0 Hide
    kissmeimgerman , June 8, 2009 3:43 PM
    atom, or atom-mobile?
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , June 8, 2009 4:24 PM
    x86 on a phone? I'd buy that... if battery life was good, performence was decent, and it could run... ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    MagicJack on a NetBook?

  • 7 Hide
    hillarymakesmecry , June 8, 2009 5:56 PM
    In 3 years mobile phones will be running Crysis.
  • Display all 12 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Kill@dor , June 8, 2009 6:02 PM
    hillarymakesmecryIn 3 years mobile phones will be running Crysis.


    If thats so, we will probably say goodbye to hand helds like the PSP/Gameboy/Nintendo DS and all that ^_^ That is of course, unless those hand helds can carry better hardware/software to run high quality games.
  • 2 Hide
    Hanin33 , June 8, 2009 6:35 PM
    wot's the point of playing an eye candy game on a screen that's generally smaller than 3"? pushing innovation to promote higher levels of game play on smaller devices is nice, but i think this overlooks all the other issues that make viable hand helds such as power sources and durability qualities. would be nice if we could play reasonable games on these devices and not have to recharge them for a few if not several days... if it could play crysis for 3 or 4 days without a recharge... then i'd be impressed...
  • 1 Hide
    lifelesspoet , June 8, 2009 6:51 PM
    "When you're a hammer, ever problem is a nail" Atom has too much overhead for it to be a viable alternative. The only current benefit it has in netbooks is that it runs windows, but that doesn't matter on phones. When the OS is customized and the apps are app store style downloads, x86's software advantage is gone and your left with an architecture that doesn't lend well to advanced power saving functions like the arm has. Now if you consider that there are so few mobile apps that run on x86, it would seem Intel has an uphill battle.
  • 0 Hide
    klarkmdb , June 8, 2009 9:08 PM
    Am sure ARM will have something to come up with other than Atom. I would still rather use an ARM based device than an Atom one.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 8, 2009 10:33 PM
    The atom in mids is the most useless thing there could be!
    It's just too powerfull! Even if you run 3D games on it's 4,5" screen with 640x480 pix screen or so, it will have more than twice the computing power of a PSP.

    More likely is that they are developing an all in one chip for mobile devices, running the memory controller and GPU on the same chip/die as the CPU. Their '1Watt' device!

    All the while Pixel Qi (I guess) is doing effort to get more Intel chips working like ARM chips (softwarematic) which go into a sort of sleep state (or state with very slow FSB, ramspeed, and CPU speed) when not in use (eg after the loading of an HTML, when the user is reading or writing the page)...

    I'm already not for mids, and certainly not for atom powered mids!
    Unless we're talking about a dual Iphone screen with touch keyboard that operates like a micro laptop.
  • 0 Hide
    mman74 , June 9, 2009 3:01 AM
    A lot of you are missing the point when you say this is overkill. The fact is I want my phone to do more. I want a MID with HSDPA speeds (with FULL operability browser not restricted to viewing HTML pages), I want a iPod Touch (music and video playback at a decent resolution - all formats!), I want to stream live video such as sling, I want to play decent games (more demanding than Solitaire), I want to send email and if necessary make and review attachments, I want an OS that is upgradeable.
    Well why don't I get a netbook? Because most of all I want it to fit in my pocket and act as my mobile phone too.
  • 0 Hide
    tipoo , June 9, 2009 7:07 PM
    I want to see an Atom vs Snapdragon vs Tegra analysis, who's with me?
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , June 10, 2009 12:07 AM
    agree with the guy above, the atom is not overkill, probably even less capable when it comes out since phone competition is fierce.
    i know battery life would not be a problem on a lower manufacturing process and some power saving features.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 11, 2009 4:28 PM
    mman74A lot of you are missing the point when you say this is overkill. The fact is I want my phone to do more. I want a MID with HSDPA speeds (with FULL operability browser not restricted to viewing HTML pages), I want a iPod Touch (music and video playback at a decent resolution - all formats!), I want to stream live video such as sling, I want to play decent games (more demanding than Solitaire), I want to send email and if necessary make and review attachments, I want an OS that is upgradeable.Well why don't I get a netbook? Because most of all I want it to fit in my pocket and act as my mobile phone too.

    Then get yourself an iphone!
    Guess what, an Iphone has a 400Mhz ARM cpu. You know what that means?
    That the Atom is at least 3 times faster! (and 3 times less energy efficient too).
    The PSP? a 333Mhz CPU capped at 266Mhz! And see what good quality it has!
    Your CPU/GPU goes up considerably with the display resolution. On small 4 to 5" screens that go not over 800x400 pix, an 1Ghz cpu would probably even be overkill!