A dual-core Atom CPU and a digital Wi-Fi radio on the same chip.
Once the king of the netbook market with its Atom chipset, Intel now faces stiff competition from the likes of Nvidia and AMD. However, a current research project at Intel shows that Intel hasn't lost its edge just yet. Dubbed Rosepoint, Wired reports that, after years of hard work, Intel engineers have managed to squeeze a digital 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi radio and a low-power Atom CPU onto the same chip.
Though it sounds simple enough, sticking these two components onto the same chip is no easy feat. Wired's Robert McMillan explains that Intel's researchers not only had to figure out a way to take a complex analogue WiFi chip (with its complicated design and customized circuits operating on a continuum of voltages) and boil it down to the tiny scale required, the company also needed to figure out a way to eliminate radio wave emissions that can cause interference between the two components.
The resulting chip allows not only for fewer chips (which means a lower cost) but also heightened power efficiency. Though Rosepoint is only in the research stages right now, it could show up in laptops and phones by 2015. As if all of this weren't bad-ass enough, Intel is also looking at ways to radio antennas on-chip, too. It might be a while before we hear more details, but it sure is nice to hear what's going on behind closed doors over in Santa Clara, isn't it?