Intel Atom may be the next big thing in the smartphone market

23 September, 2009 | Comments (59) | Post your comment

Tags: Misc, Touch UI, Rumors

Everyone knows that the Intel Atom dominates the netbook market, but what about smartphones? As it turns out they have some pretty major plans there too. Their Moorestown system on a chip and Moblin OS will be available in early 2010 and will give them a good starting point for their march towards market domination.

Since our web site is primarily about mobile phones, we should clarify some of those things. First off, "system on a chip" or SoC means that all the chips with various functions normally found on a computer motherboard have been packed into a single chip, saving both space and power - both critical for mobile devices.

The Moorestown platform is a SoC with 45nm Atom CPU, graphics and video encoder/decoder. It will support all the major mobile phone technologies such as 3G, WiMAX, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and even mobile TV.

Intel also announced today that they will license HSPA/3G technology from Nokia and they jointly develop oFono - an open source telephony software solution. While oFono probably won't develop into a full-blown OS, but will instead be integrated in Moblin and Maemo.

Moblin and Maemo are both Linux variants, the former developed by Intel and tailored specifically for Atom CPUs, the latter developed by Nokia for ARM processors.

It's not just Nokia - Intel is also working with another big name in the mobile phone world, namely LG. Together LG and Intel are working on a MID that is powered by Moorestown and runs Moblin, plus LG is working with Ericsson to bring 3G capabilities to said MID. The MID will feature voice functionality, so it seems to be a likely candidate to be the mythical "Intel phone".

Anyway, Intel did a short demo of the new Moblin UI, which Intel says is designed for multitasking. It organizes things into "zones", which group a program's windows but also allow you to drag a window from one zone to another.

If this new paradigm proves successful, it will rival the "cards" of WebOS and it can also run GNOME applications (GNOME is one of the two most popular Linux desktop environments), giving it immediate access to plenty of apps get go (think Firefox, etc), not to mention a huge developer base.

Here also are two videos demonstrating the new OS for you to enjoy:

Source: Wired, Intel/Nokia collaboration, Intel/LG collaboration, oFono, Moblin hands-on




Intel Atom may be the next big thing in the smartphone market - reader comments

  • Mike

They really should just use Android OS

  • Reply
  • 2010-08-01 07:23
  • P%8c
  • Anonymous

Personally I think if Intel dose jump into the Mobile phone market, its gonna really mean trouble for a lot of companies I think. Really what will make or break they're stuff would be the hardware. But if they crank out things that have very strong m...

  • Reply
  • 2009-09-28 16:42
  • qpvf
  • Will

I'm pretty sure this SoC is still spread across two pieces of silicon, an integrated cpu/gpu/mem controller alongside an IO hub. They could appear in the same package or chip carrier though. Either way it will save a hell of a lot of real estate an...

  • Reply
  • 2009-09-25 16:33
  • tATE