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New Ultra-Mobile PC form factor is squashed Centrino

by Tarinder Sandhu on 18 April 2007, 13:46

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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HEXUS @ IDF 2007

Intel's Anand Chandrasekhar commented that the growing richness of content on the internet is driving innovation for mobile devices. There's a real need to display more immersive content and present mobile solutions simply aren't cutting it.

Chandrasekhar further commented that mobile phones weren't well-designed to process and display the increasing demands placed by the proliferation of video streaming and multifarious A/V formats present on the 'net, and most notebooks were too large to be truly portable. Rather, he said, mobile internet would be best leveraged by advances in ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) technology based on Intel hardware. Apple might disagree and put the iPhone forward as the perfect device, though.

Creating the perfect UMPC, then, requires a high-performance, low-power hardware solution that's able to scale with future processing demands whilst paying close attention to battery life considerations, according to Anand.

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In view of this, Intel is officially launching its new ultra-mobile platform for 2007, although we've known about the proposed architecture for a while. It seems as if XScale's time is numbered in the UMPC space.

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The platform formerly known as McCaslin marries either Intel's Stealey A100 and A110 CPUs (12W TDP, Pentium M-derived, single-core, 90nm) to a 945GU chipset featuring the ICH7U southbridge. That's old-hat technology, frankly, that's been rehashed to fill in a gap in the market, in our opinion. Inferring a little, we expect the battery life to be poor on a mid-sized device.

We expect that Intel's UMPC partners will also add WiMAX and GPS-based connectivity. VIA, currently plying the market with its C7M CPU, will have some serious competition in the UMPC market soon, and expect to see many more sexy-looking McCaslin-based UMPC devices to ship in H2 this year. Samsung's McCaslin-based UMPC - the Q1 Ultra - should be available imminently. We just hope they're not priced too high.

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Looking further afield, Intel will be introducing the Menlow platform, designed from the ground up, to succeed McCaslin. Based on a 45nm manufacturing process, the UMPC-oriented Silverthorne CPU (and associated chipset) is set to cut power requirements significantly further. Anand demonstrated a prototype Menlow UMPC, manufactured by Compal, downloading and running an Intel Flash-based video from YouTube.

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