Only a couple of months after launching its McCaslin ultramobile chips, Intel has shown a prototype device based on the next generation, Menlow.
Intel's Anand Chandrasekher showed a prototype from Elektrobit, based on Menlow, as well as one from Compal, during a speech at the Computex event in Taiwan.
The Elektrobit Intel Mimd (mobile internet multimedia device), which won't ship until next year, has a slide-out keyboard, a 4.8in 1024 x 600 pixel touchscreen and a 3.2 Megapixel camera. Instead of Windows, the Mimd uses Midinux, a Red Flag Linux operating system for mobile devices.
The Mimd is lightweight but felt hot when picked up. Intel executives said power-management features in the software had not been activated in the prototype and production models will run much cooler.
The Mimd will include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, with the choice of adding Mobile WiMax or HSPA (High Speed Packet Acces) cellular access. Other features include integrated GPS (Global Positioning System), navigation software, a Micro USB port and a slot for a Micro SD (Secure Digital) memory card.
Like the Elektrobit prototype, the Compal device has a slide-out keyboard and touchscreen. It was also shown running Midinux.
Neither Compal or Elektrobit plan to sell these devices under their own names. Elektrobit hopes to license its design to interested companies, while Compal will manufacture its device under contract for another company.
When Menlow-powered ultraportables like these become available next year, Intel expects them to have a battery life of up to six hours, nearly double the three hours of battery life typical of devices based on McCaslin.
The McCaslin package - formerly known as the Ultra Mobile Platform 2007 - consists of Intel's A100 or A110 processors and a chipset. These processors, formerly codenamed Steeley, are basically Celeron-M chips that Intel put into a smaller package designed for ultraportable devices. Dell is among the vendors promising McCaslin-based devices.
The Silverthorne processor used in Menlow - which will be called Ultra Mobile Platform 2008 - is a new processor design and will be produced using the 45-nanometer process that Intel plans to bring on line later this year. The chips are small, allowing 2,500 of them to be produced on a single 300mm silicon wafer, Chandrasekher said, showing off a wafer he said contained Silverthorne chips as an example.
In Menlow, the Silverthorne processor will be paired with Poulsbo, a single-chip chipset that helps to further reduce the space required for a device's motherboard. McCaslin's chipset is composed of two chips.
Intel isn't the only chipmaker that hopes to see demand for small, ultraportable devices take off. Taiwan's Via took the wraps off its Mobile ITX motherboard form factor and NanoBook reference design at Computex. The first NanoBook device, from Packard Bell BV, will hit European markets during the third quarter.
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