Intel Tips Its 3G Processor Strategy

Intel Corp. disclosed details of its next-generation communications processor strategy, code-named Hermon, which is targeted at single- and dual-mode wideband CDMA phones.

February 26, 2004

2 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Intel Corp. disclosed details of its next-generation communications processor strategy, code-named Hermon, which is targeted at single- and dual-mode wideband CDMA phones.

Intel executives said Wednesday (Feb. 25) at the 3GSM World Congress here that the single-chip device incorporates an XScale MSA architecture processor, on-chip StrataFlash memory, W-CDMA and GPRS baseband logic on a 0.13-micron process.

Intel plans to announce full details of the product in the next six months, and expects both mass-market cellphones and smartphones to appear by 2005. Reference designs based on Hermon are expected by the end of the year.

"The fully scalable system-on-chip device incorporates a number of key mobile technologies, such as our Quick Capture and Clear Connect solutions, which will allow handsets to track multiple basestations, thus leading to fewer dropped calls, yet draws on our existing XScale communications processor," said Gadi Singer, vice president and co-general manager of Intel's cellular and hand held group.

The 3G platform will use TTPCom's protocol and applications software, extending the relationship between the companies on GSM/GPRS designs. The first customer for the new communications processor is expected to be Taiwanese group Asustek, which is developing a range of smartphones based on Hermon and Intel's Bulverde applications processor.Singer said Bulverde has been sampled by numerous phone designers, some who will be introducing devices by the end of 2004. He would not say whether any are top mobile phone manufacturers.

Paul Otellini, Intel's president and COO, hinted at Hermon development during a keynote address here. He did unveil a three-radio reference design for cellphones offering 802.11b, Bluetooth and GSM/GPRS capabilities. It will run on the latest version of the Bulverde applications processor, wireless MMX and an XScale communications processor. The phone will support leading operating systems, including Microsoft, Symbian, Linux, Java and PalmOS.

It will also play MP3 music files with PC-quality sound, and incorporates a 1.3-megapixel digital camera.

Otellini reiterated Intel's commitment to the wireless broadband, particularly emerging WiMax technology, and said the company will have silicon for the expanded wireless network by the end of the year. Basestations and customer premises equipment are expected to be available by the middle of 2005.

He also forecast in a glitzy demononstation here that WiMax capability would be built into notebook computers by 2006, followed by handsets by 2007. The huge bandwidth increase provided by WiMax, compared to Wi-Fi, over much greater distances could set up a battle with operators of 3G networks.Intel's mantra remains that "the wireless industry is evolving from a web of independent networks into a single, integrated wireless network with multiple standards, where no single standard will be sufficient."

"I don't anticipate a battle of competing technologies. It will be a requirement that Wi-Fi, WiMax and 3G co-exist," Otellini said.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like


More Insights