Intel continues move into smartphones with 3G system-on-a-chip

Chipmaker touts low total cost of ownership, simplified design

Intel announced Tuesday that it is planning to make a new system-on-a-chip with integrated 3G radio support available to select customers in the fourth quarter.

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The SMARTi UE2p integrates power amplifiers and management tools for a 3G HSPA transceiver on a single 65nm die, which Intel says will lower total cost of ownership and make it easier to design machine-to-machine communication systems and entry-level smartphones using its technology.

"This will allow our customers to introduce lower-cost 3G handsets and support the transition of the machine-to-machine market segment toward 3G-based connected devices to help enable the 'Internet of things,'" Intel Architecture Group Vice President Stefan Wolff said in a statement. Wolff also noted that the new SoC will simplify supply chains by reducing the number of parts needed to manufacture a given product.

Intel also says that it would continue to work with power amplification manufacturers in the mobile space and that the first samples of the SMARTi UE2p will be provided to some of those partners in late 2012.

The mobile segment has been one of the few parts of the processor market where Intel has lagged behind the competition. Despite the company's dominance in many other sectors, the vast majority of today's smartphones are designed around ARM SoCs, which are highly energy-efficient.

Intel has slowly begun to make headway in mobile of late, however, thanks to its introduction of the Medfield chipset and ongoing adaptation of its Atom low-power processor line for use in the fast-growing tablet market.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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