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Intel Clover Trail+: A New Smartphone Platform With Atom Z2580

Clover Trail+: Showing Off One Year Of Progress

I’m almost certain that, at some point in 2013, I’m going to happen upon the tablet I consider to be perfect for everything I do. More likely than not, it’ll show up as some combination of x86 hardware and Windows.

But while it seems to be that Intel is about one generation away from having a big impact on the premium tablet space, the company hasn’t seen as much momentum behind Atom-powered smartphones.

We should probably go a little easy on the company. After all, the single-core, Hyper-Threaded Atom Z2460 only surfaced last year and still managed to find itself in 10 designs in more than 20 countries. But there’s still nothing here in the U.S. to show for Intel’s efforts. In fact, the most recent smartphone news was the Lexington platform, based on a single-core Atom processor, tailored to emerging markets. That concept has a handful of wins already, and Intel continues to advocate the importance of capable graphics and 1080p video decode, even in lower-cost handsets.

Intel's Clover Trail+ reference phone.

But before Intel transitions to its next-gen architecture employing 22 nm manufacturing, it wants to refresh Medfield’s space with a performance-oriented successor called Clover Trail+. The new SoC features a second Hyper-Threaded x86 core, juggling up to four threads concurrently. It also leverages a beefier PowerVR SGX544MP2 IP block, which not only doubles Medfield’s graphics resources, but also runs them at up to 533 MHz, rather than 400 MHz. Intel claims as much as 3x the 3D performance as a result.

Atom Z2580Atom Z2560Atom Z2520
CPU FrequencyUp to 2 GHzUp to 1.6 GHzUp to 1.2 GHz
Process Technology32 nm
CPU PerformanceDual-core Saltwell with Hyper-Threading
MemoryDual-channel 32-bit interface; Up to LPDDR2-1066
GraphicsPowerVR SGX544MP2, 533 MHz BoostPowerVR SGX544MP2, 400 MHzPowerVR SGX544MP2, 300 MHz
Display SupportWUXGA (1920x1200)
CameraPrimary: 16 MP; Secondary: 2 MP
ModemXMM 6360

As it did with Medfield, Intel built a new reference phone design based on Clover Trail+, shouldering the hardware and software optimization load to (it hopes) court customers straight out of the gate.

Lenovo was actually showing off its IdeaPhone K900 at this year’s CES based on the reference platform. Its 6.9 mm Z-height makes it the thinnest Intel-based phone to date. And yet it offers 1080p resolution with 400+ pixels per inch.

  • Computerrock1
    ^ It's atom, known for 5~6 watt chips...
    Reply
  • kartu
    If I remember correctly, margins in mobile market are so small by Intel's standards, that even if they manage to capture most of the market it would still be a laughable income for them.

    So the only reason they are doing it is: fear.

    And oh well, no thanks, dear Intel, enjoy your x86 margins while you can.
    Reply
  • drakefyre
    kartuIf I remember correctly, margins in mobile market are so small by Intel's standards, that even if they manage to capture most of the market it would still be a laughable income for them.So the only reason they are doing it is: fear.And oh well, no thanks, dear Intel, enjoy your x86 margins while you can.If they can put out a superior product, even if it is due to fear, more power to them.
    Reply
  • irish_adam
    drakefyreIf they can put out a superior product, even if it is due to fear, more power to them.

    errr what? the last thing we need is intel dominating another market. At some point we do need to move away from x86 as Intel pretty much hold all the cards for it and refuses to licence it anymore. I'm pretty sure AMD and VIA are the only ones that have one, neither of which have the money or resources to present a challenge to Intel hence why they have a monopoly
    Reply
  • TimeLass
    Yeah i have been waiting for the released of smartphones that are powered by Intel's CPU for a long time and finally here it is...! i believe they will improve a lot in future as time goes on...
    Reply
  • ubercake
    There are rounded corners on that rectangle. I smell an Apple patent lawsuit.
    Reply
  • catfishtx
    We should all want Intel to succeed in this market. Anytime we get these companies innovating, pushing the boundaries, and competing on price, we all win as consumers. ARM vs. Intel vs. nVidia vs. AMD = WIN.
    Reply
  • realibrad
    irish_adamerrr what? the last thing we need is intel dominating another market. At some point we do need to move away from x86 as Intel pretty much hold all the cards for it and refuses to licence it anymore. I'm pretty sure AMD and VIA are the only ones that have one, neither of which have the money or resources to present a challenge to Intel hence why they have a monopoly
    Intel has pushed out a product that is currently the best thing in the X86 market. AMD had pushed Intel, and Intel responded with a CPU that currently is more than enough for 90% of the people. Im more than happy to have Intel come into more markets, and attempt to push everyone to improve, even themselves.
    Reply
  • drakefyre
    irish_adamerrr what? the last thing we need is intel dominating another market. At some point we do need to move away from x86 as Intel pretty much hold all the cards for it and refuses to licence it anymore. I'm pretty sure AMD and VIA are the only ones that have one, neither of which have the money or resources to present a challenge to Intel hence why they have a monopolyAs long as there is competition, the consumer will benefit. Even if Intel does put out a better product I'm very confident that there will be very strong competition for quite a while.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    More competition is always good. If nothing, it will make the lower end QC chips uncomfortable. possibly forcing QC to bump up specs on all chips.
    Win-Win for consumers.
    Reply