ICS tablet and phone coming next year
has finally shed some light on its Medfield efforts and showed off some concepts to MIT Technology Review.
Currently, ARM chips dominate both the tablet and smartphone market, and not even the mighty Intel can make much of a difference, for now. However, Intel’s Medfield SoC shows promise. Technology Review tried out a couple of prototypes last week and the first impressions seem positive.
Medfield is Intel’s first true SoC design and the reference design phone is said to be lighter than the iPhone, while at the same time immensely powerful. Technology Review says the phone was “on a par” with the latest iPhone and Android models, it could play Blu Ray video and browsing was smooth and fast.
VP of Intel’s architecture group Stephen Smith claims engineers have tweaked Medfield specifically to speed up Android apps and the chip is said to offer a significant leap in power efficiency. Smith expects the first Medfield based products to be announced in the first half of 2012 and manufacturers will be free to use “as much or as little” of the reference design.
So, within a year you should be able to pick up a Windows 8 tablet powered by a proper x86 chip. This sounds like a pretty interesting prospect if you need bulletproof backwards compatibility. However, it remains to be seen whether Medfield will be able to match ARM chips in terms of power efficiency and cost, especially in the low-end and mid-range smartphone space.