TH: As someone who recently moved from BlackBerry to Android, I see handsets starting to become more reliant on cloud-based services rather than having to rely so much on local processing and storage. If that becomes a trend, would we even need ultraportables that create? Couldn’t all that work be done and stored in the cloud?
TT: The cloud is important, but we think we can do a lot more on even a handheld device than is possible in the cloud. Because you don’t want to always be dependant on the cloud, right? Maybe connectivity’s not available or, if you’re traveling abroad, for example, that connectivity may be very expensive. Our view is that you want to do as much as possible on the handset and then use the cloud. Connectivity is going to be king for this class of mobile devices, but you don’t want to depend on it to do your work.
TH: The general trend for Intel and the CPU industry as a whole has been to innovate, release those innovations at the top end of the product stack, then adapt those innovations as they trickle down into lower segments. But with Moorestown, we’re seeing a reversal. Here, the innovation is starting at the bottom, in cheap, lowly handsets, and will gradually move up, as we just saw with the Oak Trail announcement for tablets and smartbooks. What does this say about computing trends and Intel’s future in chip design?
TT: That’s a very good observation. We think some of the technologies from what we’re doing will trickle up. A lot of the technologies that we build here have a lot of applications in other areas, including our future desktop and server chips. Moorestown is designed for smart phones, but it scales to tablets because of the performance/power efficiency that we get from the architecture.
I think there are two pieces to it. Some of the technologies I was referring to will filter into our core direction. But the second thing is that some of these things will scale up into different power envelopes. Tablets are a clear example. We’ve shown the 1.5 GHz chip in a phone, but a 1.9 GHz device goes into a tablet because we can take advantage of the increased thermal envelope of tablet-class devices and run higher performance parts in there.