Intel Corporation today introduced a new family of microprocessors specifically designed to bring high performance and long battery life to wireless communications devices. The new processors are based on the Intel® XScale™ technology and will power multimedia cell phones, handheld computers, in-vehicle (telematics) systems and other wireless Internet products.
The added performance and power savings from the new Intel processors come at a time when significant amounts of data are beginning to be processed on wireless devices. According to Cahners In-Stat/MDR, of the 400 million handsets sold worldwide in 2001, only about two to three percent are capable of processing large amounts of information. By 2005, the analyst firm believes that more than 50 percent of the 900 million cellular phones sold will be data enabled.
“Consumers today want to access the Internet, share information and stay connected wherever they go, and that puts significant processing demands on their cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs),” said Peter Green, general manager of Intel’s Handheld Computing Division. “These demands will only increase over time. The new Intel XScale microarchitecture-based processors deliver longer battery life and increased computing power for accessing the Internet with handheld communications and telematics devices today, and well into the future.”
The Intel® PXA250 and Intel® PXA210 applications processors will enable the ability to deliver richer music, movies and games as well as many of the latest applications being developed for the workplace. The new processors complement the Intel® StrongARM* SA-1110 applications processors, the leading platform for Pocket PC* devices today, and set the stage for a new class of high-performance, low-power wireless communications devices.
Many of today’s wireless and handheld devices sacrifice processing horsepower in order to maximize battery life. This trade-off does not impact the ability to manage simple personal information such as calendars and phone numbers. However, processors used in many current handheld products are unable to power popular compute-intensive consumer applications such as mobile digital music, Internet access, color video and gaming.
The new Intel PXA250 and Intel PXA210 applications processors allow makers of wireless communications devices to take the next step in high-performance and low-power wireless handheld computing technology. Products using the new processors are expected to be available to consumers by mid-2002.
The Intel PXA 250 applications processor, running at clock speeds up to 400 MHz, delivers advanced integration, leadership multimedia performance and improved power savings required for many full-featured handheld communicators, telematics systems and PDAs. Running at speeds up to 200 MHz, the Intel PXA210 applications processor delivers a highly integrated, low-power solution for cell phones and entry-level handheld and wireless devices.
Increased Capabilities for Applications Processors
Building on Intel StrongARM technology, the Intel XScale microarchitecture core was engineered to improve the performance of a wide variety of wireless Internet devices as well as powering networking infrastructure equipment. Both technologies are fully ARM architecture compliant, enabling software compatibility for products based on Intel StrongARM and Intel XScale microarchitectures. Today’s announcement marks the first general-purpose processor based on the Intel XScale microarchitecture for the wireless device market segment.
These new processors feature architectural enhancements including support for the new Turbo mode technology. Turbo mode enables the processor to scale the performance as high or as low as necessary in a single clock cycle, which helps conserve battery life while still providing the necessary boosts in performance. In addition, the new micro-power management features for these devices allow the new processors to potentially use less than half the power at the same performance levels of today’s Intel StrongARM SA-1110 applications processor.
To increase multimedia efficiency and performance, Intel also added Intel® Media Processing Technology. It is designed to work specifically with the device’s audio, video and gaming applications to increase the number of frames per second in videos, improve sound quality and give advanced graphical effects.
Industry Support for New Processors
Manufacturers endorsing the new processors include: Acer Inc., Casio Computer Co., Ltd., Compaq Computer Corporation, DaimlerChrysler, Inc., Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu-Siemens Computer, Hewlett-Packard Company, Hitachi, Ltd., Intermec Technologies, InFocus, Johnson Controls, Inc., NEC, Symbol Technologies and Toshiba Corporation. Operating systems supporting the new processors include Microsoft Windows CE.Net*, Windows Pocket PC 2002*, PalmOS*, SymbianOS*, and embedded Linux* from multiple vendors.
In addition, more than 200 independent software vendors are introducing versions of their popular multimedia software applications in support of the new Intel processors. Adobe, Macromedia, PacketVideo, RealNetworks, Inc., and other companies have optimized their software to provide Intel-powered devices with rich audio, video and gaming capabilities.
The new processors are key components of the Intel Personal Internet Client Architecture (Intel PCA), Intel’s development blueprint for designing wireless handheld communication devices that combine voice communications and Internet access capabilities. A growing community of developers, called the Intel PCA Developer Network, offers wireless companies development, technical and marketing support for designing cell phones, PDAs and other mobile Internet devices and applications supporting Intel PCA. To date, more than 800 companies have joined the network and have access to its more than 400 hardware and software design tools. The Intel Communications Fund, a $500million strategic equity investment fund within Intel Capital, has made 15 investments worldwide related to wireless and handheld computing and continues to specifically target PCA-related investments.
Pricing and Availability
Both the Intel PXA250 and Intel PXA210 applications processors are available today in sample quantities. The Intel PXA250 processor at 400 MHz has a suggested list price of $39.20 (USD) and the Intel PXA210 processor at 200 MHz has a suggested list price of $19 (USD) in 10,000 unit quantities.