Peter Clarke, Electronics360
28 May 2014
The news that Intel wants to drop its Atom processor core into a Rockchip SoC to give it a boost in the low-end Chinese tablet computer market is an interesting development (see Intel Partners With Rockchip For Tablet Push), not least in that it mixes up business models and alliances in the chip business.
It provides a good illustration of the "pragmatic" Intel that incoming CEO Brian Krzanich said he wanted to foster last November. The pragmatism definitely includes the willingness to use outside foundries to get Intel chips made.The Rockchip-designed SoFIA will start out at TSMC for reasons of expediency, Krzanich said, before moving to internal manufacture at the end of 2015. But will this pragmatism go as far being prepared to pay ARM (Cambridge, England) a royalty on each Rockchip-designed SoFIA chip it sells.
Intel has asked Rockchip to use its design expertise and knowledge of the China technology ecosystem to develop SoCs for tablets based on Intel intellectual property – specifically the Atom processor core and Intel's 3G modem. Rockchip is a good company to ask because it has built up leading-edge experience doing exactly that with ARM processor and graphics cores.
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