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Intel is hoping to become more competitive in 2013 with new manufacturing processes that will shrink chip circuitry from 32 to 22 nanometers (nm) in size. The chip maker has been trying its best to make a run at the smartphone market, with a couple of devices like the Motorola RAZR i, but just hasn't seen the market share it was hoping for. One of the original issues with Intel processors for phones and tablets -- marketed under the Atom brand name -- was their power consumption, which seemed to lag behind that of comparable ARM units.

This new process, based on its "TriGate" technology used for its larger PC processors, uses three-dimensional transistor structures that help save space and therefore increase efficiency. Intel claims 22- to 65-percent performance improvements in its 22nm chips compared to current 32nm units. The company does admit that it is about 6 months behind schedule on releasing SoC's, but analysts expect them to become available in the second half of 2013.

Even if the technology checks out, Intel still has an uphill battle ahead of it. The next part of this equation will be convincing smartphone and tablet manufacturers that Atom is a better choice than price-competitive ARM units -- as well as consumers that "Intel Inside" is something they want in more than just their PC.

Source: WSJ


Reader comments

Intel ready to shrink mobile SoC circuitry to 22 nanometers


Maybe they should just make ARM SoC's for smartphones and tablets instead of bothering to make things compatible with x86. Not to mention that the rise of Windows RT means more money to ARM manufacturers and less to x86 makers. Heck, AMD already said they're looking into ARM research.

If they can just get it out there and have competitive performance the "Intel" brand on the back of the phone is every bit as strong as any other electronics branding out there. It may not be something you normally see on phones but when your average consumer picks up a device and see's Intel on the back they will think "oh yeah, ive heard of Intel", and honestly I cant think of any type of negative thoughts your average consumer would ever have on intel in the first place.

Intel's Atom chips were the reason for the lack luster netbook sales. Intel tried to tout the Atoms energry sipping prowess as a selling point but that didn't even come close to helping its abysmal performance record. No matter how fast in MHz they made them, they felt as if you were using a PC circa 1998. Ultrabook sales are lackluster also. Why? Too expensive. The price to performance ratio is totally whacked making them a non-viable option. Sure! The prices are coming down on UB's but comsumers realize that having something mega portable isn't worth the price premium.

Most comsumers aren't stupid. Impulsive just because it says Intel on the back doesn't make it a "must have" product, even if they know the name. Just look at the RAZRi.

I'm going to point to the sales numbers of Macbooks to disprove your entire hypothesis. People buy expensive things because they do have a brand icon on them.

By 2015 Intel will rule the market. It is a big shift for their company going to the new form factor, but this is Intel, nobody makes better chips, their fabs are on the cutting edge of technology, switching to a new form factor always takes a toll in R&D to pioneer, they've done it before, they'll do it again!

I still prefer Intel on my computer. It's hard to tackle a dominated market - heck ARM probably has more market share now in smartphones than iPhone did in its early ages.

Anybody think Intel will go for the plot twist and make 22nm ARM chips? I think they would really dominate the market like that.