Mike Isaac

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With New Chips, Intel Aims for the “Internet of Things”

Intel_QUARK_SOCIntel on Tuesday announced details on two of the company’s latest low-power chip lines, part of its ongoing effort to put more of its silicon into smaller devices.

The two product lines — the Atom processor E3800 and the Quark SoC X1000 — are designed to implement low-power, small-core chips into devices and sensors that don’t require Intel’s traditionally beefy chip horsepower. That could include in-home connected devices such as thermostats and lighting fixtures, or devices used in industrial settings such as transportation or energy sectors.

The Atom and Quark lines are the latest in Intel’s continuing push toward creating processors for smaller devices, a radical shift for a company that has traditionally thrived on creating high-power, heavy-duty chips for the desktop-computing industry. As consumers have moved toward mobile devices, Intel has struggled to catch up in the mobile space, while a company like ARM Holdings has advanced rapidly with its popular low-power chip-architecture designs.

Intel has stepped up its efforts to move into smaller devices in recent years, however, focusing extensively on smartphones and tablets with its Atom line of chips. Items considered a part of the “Internet of Things” — usually in-home devices or items that aren’t traditionally “smart” or connected — are Intel’s next step in this progression.

Last week, Intel announced that it would partner with Arduino, the Italian open-source hardware makers, to create a custom, Quark-based Arduino board. Intel has also announced intentions to target Quark chips at wearable computing devices.

Intel said it expects the new chip lines to debut in the first quarter of 2014.


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