Published in Processors

Intel sheds more light on SoFIA

by on30 July 2014

28nm dual-core with 3G, 4G coming later

Intel has shed more light on its upcoming SoFIA SoC, which stands for Smart of Feature Phone with Intel Architecture. For SEO purposes we'll just call it Sophie.

The SoFIA project is being spearheaded by Intel's Singapore office and CNET had a chance to catch up with recent developments. The chip was announced back in December, but details were sketchy and to some extent they still are. 

SoFIA is going after MediaTek and Qualcomm in the mainstream and entry level segments. It features a dual-core Silvermont processor on a 28nm die. This is where it gets interesting, as Intel simply doesn't do 28nm. SoFIA will be manufactured by TSMC instead, but Intel is planning to build SoFIA chips in-house in the future. The company has already made it clear that it is moving to 14nm, so there is a good chance the next generation chip will be a 14nm design churned out by Intel fabs.

SoFIA has an integrated 3G modem, but a 4G version is coming later. Bluetooth and WiFi are on other chips. Lack of 4G connectivity might not be a big deal for potential SoFIA customers, as the chip is supposed to go after entry level smartphone designs. Intel told CNET that SoFIA could pave the way to $50 smartphones in Asian markets and realistically nobody expects a $50 phone to feature 4G connectivity.

It is hard to say anything about SoFIA's real-world performance. Quad-core tablet processors based on the Silvermont architecture can still hold their ground against many high-end ARM SoCs, so a dual-core version optimised for smartphones should have no trouble keeping up with lesser ARM parts.


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