Intel Designs Cloverview System-on-Chip for Tablets, Discloses Plans for 22nm Atoms

Intel Develops 32nm Atom SoC for Slate PCs, 22nm Atoms in the Works

by Anton Shilov
04/12/2011 | 05:07 PM

At the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, China, Intel Corp. has announced a new system-on-chip (SoC) project featuring Atom micro-architecture designed for tablet PCs. The novelty is called Cloverview and will be made using 32nm process technology.


"We are accelerating the Intel Atom product line to now move faster than Moore's law, bringing new products to market on three process technologies in the next 3 years," said Doug Davis, vice president and general manager of the netbook and tablet group at Intel.

Aggressive Ultra-Mobile Plans

Intel's plans for ultra-mobile devices are aggressive and include a number of brand new offerings. Unlike in case of desktop and notebook processors, Intel seems to continue to use similar process technologies for multiple ultra-mobile designs, which may mean that the number of such designs will grow.

"New [ultra-mobile] products on three process generations of process technologies [are due] over the next three years. Our 45nm products are shipping in volume today, 32nm [SoCs] will ship in volume over the next six months, 22nm products will ship in volume in the next 24 months. Combined with architectural enhancements, these new products will deliver stunning performance, dramatically lower power consumption and the ability to integrate new features," said Mr. Davis.

The world’s largest maker of chips so far released two 45nm SoCs for smartphones and tablets code-named Moorestown and Oak Trail, the former can enable minimal (for x86-based solutions) power consumption and the latter fully supports operation of Microsoft Windows operating system. Later this year the company will launch 32nm code-named Medfield system-on-chip aimed specifically at smartphones, but going forward it would also release an SoC code-named Cloverview.

Made using 32nm fabrication process, Cloverview will be Intel’s next-generation offering for tablets. Unfortunately, it is not known whether the Cloverview will take advantage of all the modern features of the code-named Cedar Trail next-generation Atom processor platform, or will be largely based on the Medfield design.

"I would like to share some information about the coming products and what is next. Later this year we are going to disclose more information about our tablet processors called Medfield and Cloverview. Both will be built on Intel's 32nm high-k metal gate technology, so you should expect even lower power, smaller foot-print and integration of new-features along with stunning performance, " said the head of netbook and tablet business unit at Intel.

Even though Intel is pinning a lot of hopes onto its ultra low-power products and publicly expresses hopes that products like Medfield will open doors to smartphones, many companies will likely first use it for tablets. A number of Intel customers plan to showcase “devices” using code-named Medfield SoC at Computex Taipei 2011 later this year.

New Form-Factors Incoming

But Intel does not bet only onto netbooks, slates and smartphones. The company fully understands that there are more form-factors to emerge, including sliders, convertibles, detachable tablets and so on. Naturally, Cloverview, Medfield will find themselves inside many types of personal computers.

"There are new hardware developments, that are taking place. Things that are the most prominent mobile devices are things like netbooks (clamshell type of form-factors) and tablets (that are slates). But we are seeing a significant amount of innovation in a whole new category of devices that are beginning to emerge. Devices such as convertibles, sliders, detachable, dual-touch screens, all are combining features from phones and tablets," said Mr. Davis.

Those devices are currently considered as companion computers. Nobody really knows how successful they will be. Intel believes that it will take a decade for this market to develop and therefore does not have a lot to worry about: the company has historically proven that it can develop solutions relevant to market requirements.