Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer of Intel, during his keynote session at the Intel Developer Forum introduced its new Quark processor, which will be used for wearable computing devices as well as various Internet-of-things products. Mr. Krzanich said Intel plans to leave no segment untapped. Intel is accelerating progress in ultra-mobile devices with new products over the next year and beyond, including a new, lower-power product family.
"Innovation and industry transformation are happening more rapidly than ever before, which play to Intel's strengths. We have the manufacturing technology leadership and architectural tools in place to push further into lower power regimes. We plan to shape and lead in all areas of computing. [...] Smartphones and tablets are not the end-state. The next wave of computing is still being defined. Wearable computers and sophisticated sensors and robotics are only some of the initial applications," said Brian Krzanich, chief executive of Intel.
As an example of how Intel will continue to use its manufacturing and architectural leadership to push further into lower power regimes, Mr. Krzanich announced the Intel Quark processor family. The new lower-power products will extend Intel's reach to growing segments from the industrial Internet-of-Things to wearable computing. It is designed for applications where lower power and size take priority over higher performance. Exact specs of Quark have not been announced.
As the next era of computing grows even more personal, wearables are a hotbed for innovation. Brian Krzanich highlighted a bracelet as an example of a concept with reference designs under development, and said the company is actively pursuing opportunities with partners in this area.
Intel will sample form-factor reference boards based on the first product in this family during the fourth quarter of this year to help partners accelerate development of tailored, optimized solutions initially aimed at the industrial, energy and transportation segments.
While Intel has not revealed anything about its Quark processors, it is highly likely that the chip utilizes a lot of technologies developed during the creation of research x86-compatible Near-Threshold Voltage Processor (NTVP) that used novel ultra-low voltage circuits. That concept CPU ran fast when needed but dropped power to below 10 milliwatts when its workload was light – low enough to keep running while powered only by a solar cell the size of a postage stamp.
While the research NTVP chip was not supposed to become a product itself, the results of the research could lead to the integration of scalable near-threshold voltage circuits across a wide range of future products, reducing power consumption by 5-fold or more and extending always-on capability to a wider range of computing devices.