Intel Releases New Mobile Chips
By Carlo Longino, Mon Apr 12 20:15:00 GMT 2004

In its latest effort to attack Texas Instruments' dominance of the mobile processor market, Intel announced a new XScale-based processor family featuring some proprietary multimedia enhancements.

The chip, previously known by its Bulverde code name, uses a version of Intel's desktop MMX technology to improve performance and battery life. The company says Wireless MMX will let the entry-level Bulverde running at 312 mHz perform tasks that would require a 520-mHz ARM processor, and the high-end 624-mHz version is equivalent to a 775-mHz ARM chip.

Wireless MMX also offers power-consumption improvements, many a result of implementing the SpeedStep technology Intel uses in notebook processors: the new chips offer 42 percent longer MP3 playback, 77 percent longer playback and 63 percent more encoding of QVGA video and 30 percent longer videoconferencing than its existing mobile chip.

Intel has thus far been unable to replicate its success in the PC market in the mobile space, where TI's OMAP platform dominates. A TI employee says it will ship OMAP processors later this year that feature open, rather than proprietary, multimedia enhancements.

In addition to speed and power improvements, some of the new Intel processors will also feature security hardware to accelerate encryption and decryption, and it can handle VPN and SSL tasks. The chips will include QuickCapture, a proprietary imaging interface, as well, which supports four-megapixel sensors and 640x480 video at 15 frames per second, and 320x240 at 30 fps.