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Intel Reveals The Future of Its Smartphone Processors

First Texas Instruments, now Intel. Shortly after TI announced the lastest version of its OMAP chip, Intel shot right back, announcing two new mobile processors and giving a speed boost to its codename Medfield chip. The first mobile processor built on the x86 architecture, Intel's Medfield processor, now know by its official name, the Intel Atom Z246o, is expected to see a speed increase to a blazing 2-Ghz.

If that wasn't enough to entice the speed-freak in you, Intel CEO Paul  Otellini, also announced its Atom Z2580 processor, a chip that will be twice as powerful as the aforementioned Z2460. But when pressed as to what kind of tangible specifications he could provide to support such a power boost, Otellini said he would rather keep that kind of information under wraps for now. In addition to raw power, Intel says the Z2580 will also sport a multi-mode LTG/3G/2G radio.

But Intel didn't stop there. The company also announced its plans for the Intel Atom Z2000, a processor specifically designed to target the entry-level smartphone market. The 1-Ghz chip features support for the Intel XMM 6265 3G HSPA+ modem and dual-SIM capabilities for 3G and 2G modes. Otellini also revealed that Intel has already begun working on improved versions of these new chips, scaling them down from their 32nm architecture to a smaller 22nm. A 14nm chip is also reportedly in development.

At this point, you're probably wondering why Intel has yet to touch on the prospect of a multi-core processor. Well, according to Otellini, the industry's fascination with the number of cores a processor has is unimportant. Instead, Otellini explained, it's the overall performance and power management capabilities of a chip that matter.

If Intel's announcements mean anything, it's that the days of chip maker sitting on the sidelines of the smartphone processor wars are indeed over. What remains to be seen, however, is how Intel-powered handsets will compare to their ARM and TI-powered competitors.