Evidently there's some silly notion that Intel plans to use ARM's technology to build mobile processors despite anything the company may have previously said to shoot down such an idea. Sigh.
The main reason behind the speculation of an Intel/ARM marriage is that, according to experts, Intel's x86 architecture, originally intended for the PC platform, will be "inherently tough" to adapt into mobile chips. Thus, using ARM's architecture would be a better, quicker option given that Intel is a late-comer to the mobile sector.
But as previously specified, Intel has already nuked any such notion, and was followed up by Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini who had to reiterate the company's non-ARM stance during a Q&A at the company's annual investor event in Santa Clara, California. "There's no advantage going in there, we'd be beholden to someone else, beholden to ARM," Otellini told investors on Tuesday. "We'd pay royalties to them so it would lower the overall profits. I think we can do a better."
"So the short answer is, No, we have no intention of using our own license to build ARM processors," Otellini said. Intel even has a license to use ARM's technology, but doesn't plan to use it, he added.
Last month Intel revealed its Oak Trail SoC for tablets and smartphones set to hit the market sometime this month. The chip promises to support 1080p video decoding, HDMI, faster Internet browsing and longer battery life "without sacrificing performance." Oak Trail be included in 35 upcoming tablets and hybrid computers from Fujitsu, Lenovo and other manufacturers.
February brought reports that its 32-nm Medfield chip, designed for low-end smartphones, was currently in production. It was speculated that Medfield-equipped devices would launch by the end of the year, but Intel now says that the new Medfield-based devices won't go on sale until early next year.
"With Medfield we're in the power envelope for phones ... We're working with several customers and we start to expect to see the revenue ramp toward the end of this year," Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith said.
Earlier this month, Intel revealed transistors called Tri-Gate that use a three-dimensional structure. Slated to go into high-volume manufacturing at the 22-nm node for the Ivy Bridge platform, Intel is betting that the new tech will give it a significant advantage over companies like Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments that are licensing ARM's technology.
Raymond James analyst Hans Mosesmann said process technology is just one important element of winning for Intel. "But it is a major advantage and one we suspect the Street is underestimating," he said.
Tuesday Otellini also revealed that Intel plans to "double the pace of Moore's Law" by shipping three Atom SoCs over the next three years: the 32-nm "Saltwell," the 22-nm "Silvermont" and the 14-nm "Airmont." He also said Atom would scale in terms of power consumption, extending down into cell phones and up into other devices such as specialized servers. By combining these with low-power Core Ivy Bridge CPUs, Intel believes it will be well equipped to compete with ARM and others in terms of sheer computing power.